London Welsh set for Premiership
May 11, 2012
London Welsh's Vili Ma'asi about to cross the line against Bristol © PA Photos
Championship side London Welsh are adamant that they can fulfil the minimum standards necessary for promotion to the Aviva Premiership.
Premiership Rugby have various criteria laid out that clubs must fulfil if they are to be granted promotion to the top-flight. At present, it appeared that only Bristol could meet the requirements. But London Welsh, who play in a ground that currently falls well below the standards necessary, have moved to confirm that they have plans in place which means they can play in the top-flight if they win the Championship play-off final.
London Welsh beat title rivals Bedford last Friday 13-3 in the first leg of their semi-final and the two side will go head-to-head again on Sunday. The winner of that semi-final is likely to face the Cornish Pirates in the final after the Penzance side dispatched Bristol 45-24 on Monday in their first leg. Welsh's chairman Bleddyn Phillips has claimed that his side have held discussions with clubs regarding a ground share for next term with reports suggesting their preferred choice is Harlequins' Twickenham Stoop.
"So far as London Welsh are concerned, we have cooperated fully with PMP Legacy, the consultants appointed by the RFU and Premiership Rugby, and have given them every assistance to conduct an audit on two grounds we are considering for use next Season in the event we win the Championship," Phillips said. "Welsh have also had discussions with two other clubs whose grounds it believes would already satisfy the MSC [minimum standards criteria] and would thus not require a technical audit (indeed these grounds have in the past Season hosted, for example, Premiership and Heineken Cup games).
"As regards Primacy of Tenure, London Welsh have expressed to the RFU and Premiership Rugby our complete confidence that we will be in a position to effect any necessary arrangements in a timely fashion to satisfy also any such requirements and well in advance of the start of the next season to enable the Aviva Premiership fixture list to be prepared in the usual manner.
"London Welsh have thus far not been advised by PMP Legacy, the RFU or Premiership Rugby that we would not be considered suitable to play in the Premiership should we win the Championship. Indeed we have engaged in the Play-Offs in the good faith and understanding that having submitted ourselves to the Audit process we would be eligible for promotion if we win the Championship."
The RFU and Premiership Rugby plan to issue a statement clarifying promotion before the two-legged final. Newcastle, having finished bottom of the Premiership following the 22-game regular season, will be relegated if the winners of the Championship meet the top division's criteria.
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