London Welsh Take Premiership Spot; Newcastle Relegated
London Welsh rugby football club will take the place of the Newcastle Falcons RFC in the Premiership next season after "winning their appeal" against a decision by the Rugby Football Union to "deny them promotion because of minimum ground standards criteria," according to Wyn Griffiths of the London INDEPENDENT. An independent appeal panel reviewed evidence for two days before overturning the RFU's original decision. Newcastle, who finished bottom of the Premiership last season, indicated before the hearing that they "may threaten legal action if the decision went against them." Therefore, "it is likely that the issue may now end up in the courts" (INDEPENDENT, 6/30). In London, Stephen Jones reported that London Welsh will be "under-funded from central sources" because the Premiership clubs set down bylaws long ago that mean newcomers "have to play in the top flight for years to become equal shareholders." London Welsh face "a titanic battle to extend their tenure beyond one season." The long legal battle means they "are urgently seeking the reinforcements they need for elite rugby when the recruitment process at the other clubs has long ended and the market has all but shut up shop." London Welsh "need to be brutal with their promotion heroes." They will need "to recast the whole team" in an "after-hours market" (SUNDAY TIMES, 7/1).