London Welsh denied promotion after “various failures” in audit report

London Welsh will not be promoted to the Aviva Premiership after the RFU ruled that their application ineligible. It means that Newcastle Falcons will remain in the Aviva Premiership next season under the new regime of Dean Richards. Full details below:

The Rugby Football Union’s Board of Directors has considered the findings of the independent audit report requested by London Welsh, which determines a club’s eligibility for promotion to the Aviva Premiership in line with the Minimum Standards Criteria (MSC).

The report, carried out by independent auditors, found that London Welsh has not met the MSC for the Aviva Premiership. The independent auditors identified various failures, including not having Primacy of Tenure at their nominated ground. This states that a club must demonstrate that they can host home fixtures at the time stipulated by Premiership Rugby and/or the host broadcaster.

The RFU Board ratified the findings and agreed, should London Welsh win the RFU Championship final following the second leg on May 30, they would not be eligible for promotion and Newcastle Falcons would remain in the Aviva Premiership.

Cornish Pirates did not choose to have an independent audit of the Mennaye Field and so do not fulfil the criteria for promotion should they win the final. As a result, there will be no promotion from the RFU Championship this season.

London Welsh have the right to appeal and would be required to do so within 14 days of this decision.

What do you make of the decision?

22 thoughts on “London Welsh denied promotion after “various failures” in audit report

  1. do Wasps, London Irish and Saracens all have “Primacy of Tenure” in their respective stadiums?

    Seems a bit harsh to announce it before the final, surely they could’ve waited until the day after? At least keep some sense of suspense in the games, instead of them being, essentially, dead rubbers.

    1. I agree, seems harder to be up to the minimum standards to get in to the premiership than it is to actually be in it!

    2. But surely this means ALL the Championship games (and the whole relegation battle in the Premiership) is also “dead rubber”?

      Should Bristol or Leeds get automatic promotion because they are the only teams qualified? This would be ridiculous (and I’m a Bristol fan).

      The RFU need to have a very good look at this. I don’t want to see it, but maybe ringfencing the Premiership (with Bristol and Leeds included) is the only way forward.

    3. Wasps and Irish definitely wouldn’t, and neither would Sale, but Saracens very soon will have.

  2. Well.well what a surprise, any excuse by the RFU to keep Newcastle in the top flight, they finished bottom of the pile, so relegation it is, disgusting outcome, shame on you RFU.

  3. Either ringfence or remove restrictions. Make it fair.

    Without these restrictions the Pirates may have gone up and gotten approval at a later date for development of the new stadium. Who knows.

  4. It does make a mockery of slugging your guts out all season to try and win the Championship, and then not get promoted. And also on the flip side, to be well under par all season compared to nearly every other team, and not get relegated. What is the point?

  5. This is a joke. If primacy of tenure were an issue, then Bath, Wasps, London Irish, and Saracens would all be kicked out of the premiership plus The Wreck doesn’t meet stadium requirements. No justice. Disgrace!! And I’m a Glaws fan

  6. Disgrace! Terrible decision….. The only way some of the championship clubs can gin the finance and experience to meet these standards is from being in the top flight!

    Rather than condemning the club, the RFU should be calculating how it can assist London Welsh to fulfil the criteria!

    The board should be ashamed!

  7. I admit an interest in this discussion being a London Welsh fan,The Rugby Union knew all along what the result of their ” indepedent analysis” would be, so to announce it just four hours before the kick off is nothing short of disgraceful.

    The RFU,s whole attitude towards the Chamionship absolutely stinks, no sponsorship, no interest, only interest is keeping the Premiership a closed shop.

    What is the point of allegedly a promotion system if all you try and do is keep teams down.

    If Bath et al did get relegated by some currently inconceivable means would they be allowed back up?

    Rugby Union should be made to haand their heads in shame, disgraceful

  8. Can we not agree that those names are silly. I’m Irish and I don’t think London-Irish should be called that. They should be called the London Leprechauns or something. As for London Welsh – that’s just plain silly – it’s not even a diffrent country. It’s Wales – it’s more or less maprt of England, not a mind part of the UK. They should be called London Dragons. It’s just to cheapen London Irish I think. English people are into that.

    Now, that Leinster are the most successful team everm I think they will have to cheapen the Heineken Cup by caling it the Rugby Champions League and thus making the old Heineken Cup defunct and it’s pedigree cheaper, or maybe rule changes too.

    I’m waiting for the next chapter of dishonesty from the English. They’re very good at dishonesty.

  9. Of course, a blog for rugby fans to discuss opinions is the most appropriate medium to stereotype and attack a whole nation of people. Funnily enough, “we English” weren’t on that board which denied London Welsh promotion. You should save your bigoted comments for a less public and multi cultural domain.

    It’s not the first time we’ve seen a team denied entry to the premiership and it will probably be the case until the competition is ring fenced. Does London need another prem team too? Aren’t 4 enough?

    1. Whilst I tend to agree about four “London clubs” being enough, if the team that one the Championship met the criteria to deny them promotion because we have enough “London clubs would be ridiculous.

      1. Of the 4 London clubs, only one currently plays in London anyway.

        L Irish are fixed for now in Reading, Wasps in High Wycombe so don’t even count as London clubs anymore.

        In a city with a population four times that of Wales there should be at least four premiership clubs in the city…

        What an idiot describing Wales as part of England tos_ _ _


  10. Very poor timing on the announcement, really horrible to tell a club about to embark on a two-leg play-off final that it matters not if they win or lose.

    Whilst promotion/relegation is in place the RFU should be aiding the transition of clubs like London Welsh, not impeding it. I doubt they’ll be able to successfully appeal the decision because it seems like they don’t pass all criteria but it’s the criteria that are at fault, who cares if they don’t have primacy of tenure? The RFU should help them work around that and allow them to schedule their matches around the football calendar, as they do at Wasps anyway.

  11. Part of the appeal of the Premiership is the true nature of the league with promotion and relegation it is what makes the league as hard as it is with just about every game meaning something . This can be contrasted with the Rabo which doesn’t have the same effect .

    This primacy of tenure business just seems to undermine all this particularly when some clubs in the Premiership don’t have it anyway . How can a club afford to build or take out a lease on a stadium just in case it gets promoted particularly with the Russian roulette of the play-offs .

    Surely all that is important is that a stadium is available when it counts.

    London Welsh are appealing this and also threatening “other steps ” .

    Good on the players anyway for putting this behind them and getting the win against Cornish Pirates despite the abysmal timing of the announcement.

  12. Just seen on BBC that Welsh are now considering legal action, and quite rightly so. They have a very good case to be heard, and I think they have a lot of the rugby public behind them. Good luck to them.

  13. I feel that such a decision disgraces Rugby fans of lower league clubs as well as premiership club fans from clubs such as Newcastle and Worcester. The premiership as it stands, operates a system of relegation and promotion. However, this appears to be false in everything but name.

    One has to question whether such a decision was taken off the back of the recent drive to promote rugby in the north, spear headed by Stuart Lancaster and Steve Diamond. With the relegated club in question being Newcastle and the club seeking promotion a West London based side which is a hot bed of rugby with Wasps, London Irish and Harlequins as well as London Scottish and Esher in the championship a seemingly over populated region. Had it been the Cornish pirates or Rotherham in such a position with a similar business model, one cannot help but feel that they would have been given the green light.

    Equally, with premiership clubs such as Sale, Wasps, London Irish and until recently Saracens all ground sharing with football clubs, this model is clearly feasible and acceptable. Either way, one has to feel for London Welsh who have gone quietly about their business and after being a mainstay in the Championship for so long, have finally mounted a promotion push and to be denied by stupid rfu red tape is ridiculous.

    A further point in order to potentially rectify such an issue might be to alter the criteria. Rather than pump money into events such as the LV cup, the Saxons etc, the RFU would surely be better served by created a pool of funding available to clubs that would go towards helping them build their own stadiums etc. If both clubs and the RFU worked together on obtaining planning permission for clubs, funding for the stadiums etc then we might see more stable clubs with willing investors.

    Equally, by laxing the criteria and stating that a club could be promoted with a stadium capacity of say 6000 (clubs like newcastle and sale rarely achieve such crowds ) however, they would need to have plans in place that would see them move into a 10,000 minimum capacity stadium within the next 3-5 years. This would enable clubs to build stadiums, take on board new investors that would be able to fund the club further enhancing itself or negotiating terms at a stadium that does. This would allow clubs to focus on promotion first and foremost. With the play off system clubs are unable to plan to much further ahead, incase they fail to achieve promotion. Equally, investors are skeptical and reluctant to invest unless the club is promoted created a vicious circle.

  14. To have any club play through a long, tough season and through a protracted playoff (8 teams is ridiculous) then tell them on the day of their final that they couldn’t be promoted is one of the most dishonourable things I have seen in sport.
    I cannot believe that the RFU has not had the time or inclination to consult with London Welsh (and other championship clubs) and worked with them to achieve their goal of becoming a premiership club. Instead the RFU is now on a collision course and in a very dangerous situation.

    Surely the RFU’s role here should be in providing access to funding and expertise in developing all clubs at every level. The games infrastructure is still very poor at many clubs many of them relying on a begging bowl to members and sponsors.

    Asking clubs to invest in building a team through developing junior and senior players in an increasingly demanding sport is hard enough, to then tell a club that they must also buy or build a stadium of 10,000 plus (probably costing £15 Million) is too much to ask and serves only to protect the few who cling on to the top taking the most out of the RFU purse in the first place.

    I would like to see the RFU Perhaps spending some of their money providing regional stadiums in under developed areas so that teams there can focus on building the quality of their players and their game.
    Cornish Pirates is a great example, they need a stadium to go any further yet all their resources are spent keeping an competitive team in place.

    Someone told me that the RFU employs approximately 500 people, hopefully someone there will see sense soon….
    Anyone know what the RFU wage bill is ?

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