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McCafferty calls for independent panel

Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty has proposed replacing the Rugby Football Union with an independent panel to make the final decision on promotion into the top flight.

The RFU board rubber-stamped the recommendation that London Welsh should be barred from entering the Premiership. An independent audit had found that London Welsh failed to meet the minimum standards criteria laid down by the PGB, chiefly primacy of tenure at Oxford United's Kassam Stadium.

But London Welsh overturned that decision last Friday after successfully arguing to an appeal panel that the regulation, as it was being applied, breached European competition law.

The checks and balances to ensure the regulations are watertight should have been provided first by the full PGB, who draft the criteria, and then separately by the RFU board.

Neither body identified the hole in the minimum standards criteria that London Welsh exploited.

The PGB must now re-draft the primacy of tenure regulation to ensure it complies with European law and there will be a review of the whole process.

McCafferty wants to introduce more independence. He told Press Association Sport: "That is one of the things I have said I want to look at in the process."

He added: "There is a range of possibilities. One possibility is that decision (over promotion) goes straight to an independent panel each year.

"Clearly to the extent the RFU is involved in the criteria, it might be conflicted when it comes to making a decision.

Newcastle, who have now been relegated, are still considering whether to take legal action. The Falcons believe they had a right to rely on the rules and regulations that were in place.

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