1 Jul

Red letter day: Championship winners London Welsh have won their appeal against a decision barring them promotion to the Premiership

RFU Championship play-off winners London Welsh

In one of my first posts on this blog I commented under the title WHAT IS THE POINT? on how ridiculous that London Welsh and Cornish Pirates who were about to contest  a two leg Championship final were prevented from moving up to the AVIVA Premier League because Pirates’ facilities failed to meet the standard of the rugby game board and Welsh had fallen foul

London Welsh RFC

London Welsh RFC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

of an RFU ruling on primacy of tenure at their home venue.  On Friday news came  that the appeal panel had overturned the RFU’s decision to deny the Championship winners promotion because of minimum standards criteria. The panel, chaired by James Dingemans QC, said London Welsh had not met the requirements of primacy of tenure for their nominated stadium, but it upheld the club’s assertion that they gave rise to an unjustified distortion of competition “contrary to EU and UK competition law”. The three-man panel concluded that the rules governing primacy of tenure “infringed UK and EU competition law” and were therefore void.  Welsh argued that their agreement to use the Kassam Stadium alongside Oxford United removed any obstacles to their Participation in the Premiership, despite the lack of primacy of tenure. The fact that clubs like London Irish, Saracens, Sale and Wasps did not enjoy primacy of tenure last season influenced the panel’s decision. The panel said the decision to uphold London Welsh’s appeal would not remove the exemption enjoyed by clubs already in the Premiership who do not have primacy of tenure, but said there was “insufficient justification” for the “narrowness of that exemption” on aspirant championship clubs. At long last a bit of common sense and not before time!

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