Welsh to fight for Premiership rights

First published in London Welsh Kingston Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

London Welsh chairman Bleddyn Phillips has vowed to leave no stone unturned to get the Exiles into the Premiership this season.

Welsh hopes of reaching the top-flight were dealt a major blow hours before Wednesday’s 37-21 Championship final first-leg triumph at Cornish Pirates, when the RFU’s board of directors ruled the club was not eligible for promotion.

An independent audit found the club had not met the minimum standard criteria for elevation, with auditors identifying various failures, including not having primacy of tenure at their nominated ground.

Welsh had hoped they could host home games at Oxford United’s Kassam stadium, in the same way other Premiership clubs – London Irish, Wasps and Saracens – share the home’s of other Football League clubs.

London Welsh have the right to appeal and would be required to do so within 14 days of the decision and Phillips insisted the club would respond.

“We would like to express our grave disappointment on learning this decision,” said Phillips in a statement.

“The club firmly believes it has met the minimum standards criteria for promotion.

“We are especially disappointed as a firm binding agreement, subject only to promotion to the Premiership, has already been concluded with the Kassam stadium.

“If promoted, we would share a ground with a club from the FA, in common with other Premiership clubs. It is not clear why an exception made for at least four top flight clubs might not be extended to a fifth.

“London Welsh will continue exploring all possible avenues to ensure the club takes its rightful place in the top flight if we win the Championship.”

Skipper Jon Mills, pictured left, was man of the match in Penzance and added: “We all aspire to get to the Premiership – we want to get London Welsh there. That’s why we’re here, that’s why we’re professionals – we want to play at the top table.”

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