Welsh lodge appeal to RFU
London Welsh submitted their appeal to the RFU last night as they began their fight for a place in the Premiership.
The Exiles won the Championship last week with a 66-41 aggregate final victory over Cornish Pirates but were denied promotion because the RFU deemed they had not met the relevant criteria for home games – which they plan to play at Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium.
Yesterday was the deadline for Welsh to submit their counter argument, and chairman Bleddyn Phillips confirmed they had done just that, with the RFU setting a preliminary date of June 21 for the hearing.
Phillips also released a statement this morning, thanking those who have offered the club support in the past week.
The statement in full reads:
"London Welsh RFC would like to confirm that it lodged an appeal with the RFU yesterday, within the agreed deadline, against the decision by the RFU not to promote London Welsh to the Aviva Premiership on the grounds that the club did not meet all the relevant Minimum Standards Criteria ('MSC').
The board of directors of London Welsh would also like to take this opportunity to thank not only its traditional and very loyal supporter base for all the help and encouragement it has given throughout the 2011/12 Season (and especially over the recent very challenging weeks culminating in the reward of winning the Championship), but also all those more neutral observers who have overwhelmingly lent their support over the past week or so to London Welsh in its bid to secure promotion to the Premiership.
This includes not only the general rugby supporting public but more specifically owners and managers of Premiership clubs and other rugby clubs as well as leaders of clubs in the Football League and other sporting institutions.
These offers of help and encouragement extend not only to promises of financial and professional support but also to offering up, in several cases, sporting venues as stadia where London Welsh might wish to play their 'home' games in 2012/13.
We are most grateful to all of you for this, which to our mind underscores very sharply what we believe to be the fundamental issue at stake here, namely that any team which demonstrates on the field of play that it has the requisite skills and resources to win through to the top of its division or playing group should be allowed to move on to the next tier thereby upholding the competitive spirit of sport in general and the ethos of promotion and relegation on merit based principles.
That London Welsh, in common with other teams already based in the Premiership who ground share with teams from the Football League, has arrangements already in place to play its 'home' games next season at a top sporting venue which would rank, in our view, as one of the best grounds offering up Premiership rugby in 2012/13, to our mind makes our case for promotion even more compelling and the reasoning behind its rejection even more difficult to fathom.
Thank you again to everyone for your continued support, loyalty and understanding of the principles we are seeking to uphold and your unequivocal commitment to our case."