London Welsh chairman Bleddyn Phillips blasts RFU over Tyson Keats sanctions
Last Updated: March 9, 2013 3:12pm
London Welsh chairman Bleddyn Phillips has blasted the Rugby Football Union for the sanctions they imposed on the club for fielding an ineligible player.
The Aviva Premiership side were deducted five points and fined £15,000 after their former team manager Mike Scott submitted false documents to the governing body.
Scott forged a passport and supplied other "false and misleading information" to secure a visa for New Zealand-born scrum-half Tyson Keats, who went on to play in 10 matches.
The former boss has received a police caution and a life ban from the sport but Phillips argues the club was "the unwitting victim of a fraudulent act" and should not be punished additionally.
"I can confirm that London Welsh RFC is appealing the decision of the RFU Panel and would like to thank its supporters and numerous well wishers for their sympathy and understanding regarding what the Club considers was an unnecessarily harsh and disproportionate sanction imposed on it by the RFU Panel of Inquiry," said Phillips in a statement.
"The club, and indeed the RFU, was the unwitting victim of a fraudulent act which the club sought to address in the appropriate manner as soon as it became aware of it.
"It takes exception to the comment by the chairman of the panel, Mr Summers, in the RFU press statement released on Thursday evening, that 'the
matter ... included conduct that was dealt with by the police...' which might by some be taken as implying that the club itself was somehow complicit in such conduct.
"In fact, it was the club itself which had unearthed the fraudulent act by its former team manager and reported it immediately to the police (and the RFU).
"Similarly unfair and harsh is the suggestion in the decision of the RFU Panel that the club was somehow acting intentionally in the matter and had authorised the actions of its team manager.
"Further, the club has, in the course of the season, properly and expeditiously registered a number of overseas players demonstrating it does have controls and checks in place.
"What it could not do was stop a deliberately fraudulent act which was concealed from it and the RFU by its former team manager."