Rescued Welsh handed five-point deduction for new campaign

First published in London Welsh

London Welsh have been given the all-clear to play in the newly formed Championship - but will start the season with a five-point penalty after the RFU ruled on their future over the weekend.

Having set a deadline of Friday for the Exiles, who went into administration last month after the withdrawal of their major financial backer, rugby's governing body were satisfied with Red Dragon Rugby Limited's acquisition of the club.

The acquisition had been subject to a number of conditions, which were:

- Any new investor must prove it has the funds to support the club for at least 2 years

- Potential new investors must provide all information required by the RFU to satisfy them before they can become involved with London Welsh

- Any creditors of London Welsh, excepting shareholders and directors, must be paid

- The amateur and community components of London Welsh must continue to be supported Red Dragon Rugby Limited has satisfied the RFU that the conditions set have been met.

Tenon Recovery obtained a court order late last week allowing their release as administrators having negotiated a solvent exit. Existing creditors totalling £1.3m have agreed to write off their debts, and the other bona fide creditors of about £450,000 have been underwritten and will be paid in full.

However, they will start the 2009-10 campaign with a five-point penalty, due to them going into administration and for their failure to inform the RFU of their intended administration when they became aware it was likely to happen.

Gareth Roberts, director of Tenon Recovery, said: “We have seen considerable interest in London Welsh from potential investors in the last few weeks, as a result of its long and proud history and its aspirations for the future.

"We hope that this will offer the best long-term scenario for the club, players and fans, while preserving the club’s unique values and heritage and we are particularly pleased that we were able to hand over a solvent company to the new owners."

Kelvin Bryon, chairman of London Welsh Rugby Club, said: “I am delighted that the Club will be able to stay in the Championship.

"I am sure that the new funding will inject a new energy into the club helping it realise its aim of playing in the Premiership within three years.

"The level of interest seen is a credit to the club, its players and supporters and I would personally like to thank everyone who has shown their support.”

John Dawes, club president and captain of the 1971 British Lions, added: “This is a great outcome and reflects the vital role that the club has and will continue to play in both English and Welsh rugby.

"The new Championship offers us some fantastic opportunities and we look forward to enjoying another successful season.”

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