Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

London Welsh appeal fails

London Welsh's appeal against a fine and points deduction has failed

London Welsh have lost their appeal against a five-point deduction and £15,0000 fine for fielding an ineligible player in thie Aviva Premiership.

A further five-point penalty, though, that was suspended until the end of next season has been removed, the Rugby Football Union announced.

The independent appeal panel's decision means London Welsh are five points adrift at the Premiership basement of 11th-placed Sale Sharks with just four league games left.

The initial punishment was for Welsh fielding an ineligible player - scrum-half Tyson Keats - in 10 Premiership games this season.

Mike Scott, the former London Welsh team manager, has been banned for life from rugby after he admitted supplying false information regarding New Zealander Keats, including a forged passport, to the RFU.

Keats was eligible for an ancestry visa, due to his grandfather being born in England, but Scott made a mistake in the original application. Instead of reapplying, Scott told Keats' agent and the club that the visa had been successfully granted to the player.

Meanwhile, Scott submitted false documents to the RFU in a bid to pass Keats off as English-qualified. Scott accepted a police caution on February 14 for his actions in falsifying registration documents.

London Welsh, though, argued they should not be blamed for fraudulent behaviour conducted by Scott, who was described in the original judgement as a "rogue employee".

The appeal panel, meanwhile, confirmed that the £15,000 is to be paid within 21 days. Panel chairman Gareth Rees QC said: "The independent appeal panel accepts that the circumstances of this case are quite exceptional.

"However, we have to mark this serious breach with a points deduction and, although we have allowed the appeal in respect of the five points which were suspended, we must acknowledge the impact on the integrity of the game and deduct five Premiership points with immediate effect."

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