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Aviva Premiership
London Welsh appoint new CEO
ESPN Staff
December 27, 2012
Tony Copsey addresses the floor at a Rugby Expo lunch, April 7, 2011
Tony Copsey is London Welsh's new CEO © PA Photos
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Players/Officials: Tony Copsey | John Taylor
Tournaments/Tours: Aviva Premiership
Teams: London Welsh

London Welsh have appointed a new CEO in a move which the club describes as in "anticipation of what it hopes and believes will be a long term future in the Premiership".

The Exiles were widely tipped as favourites for the drop from the Aviva Premiership as they only secured their top-flight place a matter of weeks before the start of the 2012-13 season. But they have recorded four wins and lie 13 points above basement side Sale Sharks.

And they have opted to bolster their management structure with the appointment of Tony Copsey as their new chief executive. Copsey has previously turned out for the Scarlets, Saracens and the Exiles and has 17 Wales caps to his name. He held the position of managing director at Harlequins between 2000 and 2007 and has been a key player in the development of Rugby Expo.

He will start his new role on January 1, 2013, and Copsey is relishing the chance to help shape the club's future. "As many people know, London Welsh has a wonderful rugby history and heritage," Copsey said. "There is no doubt that London Welsh is currently on a very exciting journey which also means they face probably one of the biggest challenges currently in the sport.

"It is a real privilege and extremely exciting to be asked to help lead that challenge. I am very much looking forward to working with my old team mate Lyn Jones, the chairman Bleddyn Phillips together with John Taylor, Steve Lewis and all the players and staff."

In a further change to their management structure, previous managing director John Taylor will now take up the role of vice-chairman and lead ambassador. Taylor added: "I am very pleased to see someone of Tony's experience and standing join the club and we all wish him well and look forward very much to him joining us as our new CEO.

"When I took on an executive role at the club in 2009 I agreed on the basis that it would be a two year project. Due to the circumstances London Welsh has found itself in I have already extended that to more than three years but I would expect and indeed wish to reduce my commitment by the end of the season as I work with and help Tony settle in".

London Welsh have also announced that they are on the search for new training facilities in the Oxford area as they look to build on the support they have received since they opted to switch to their new Kassam Stadium base. They hope that their increased presence in the area will also lead to an increase in investment from local businesses.

"For a professional club to survive in the modern world of Premiership rugby it requires the support of enthusiastic and committed investors as well as the full backing and following of a supportive fan base," chairman Bleddyn Phillips added. "Our new fans and supporters in Oxford, as well as our established and loyal following from Old Deer Park which remains very much our spiritual home and the continuing base for all our amateur, mini and ladies' rugby teams, need to know that we are committed to both retaining our position in the Premiership and to developing our participation and engagement in all aspects of rugby and community sport.

"We are keen therefore to ensure that we have in place the necessary investors for the next phase as we seek to build on the momentum thus far generated during our first four months in the Premiership. We will do all we can as a club to ensure that we are successful in achieving this goal".

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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