London Welsh hit by backer's withdrawal
April 15, 2013
A bad Sunday on and off the pitch for Lyn Jones' team © Getty Images
On the day they were relegated from the top flight, London Welsh suffered another blow with the news their majority shareholder revealed he will walk away at the end of the season.
Kelvin Bryon, who played a major role in funding the club's rise into the Aviva Premiership and saving them from liquidation in 2009, has called time after a season in which the Exiles were docked points and fined for fielding an ineligible player.
Bryon believes the Exiles have been harshly treated by the Rugby Football Union and Premier Rugby. "I'm pulling out, that's absolutely definite, and I've had enough of the RFU and PRL," he told The Rugby Paper. "I've had 20 years with London Welsh, one of the great rugby brands, but everything's been done to get us back out of the division.
"I've done a hell of a lot for of rugby but there's hardly a Welshman in the side, so what's the point? I think the EQP system is a restraint of trade but the RFU don't seem to worry that clubs like Saracens are South African owned.
"How could we have prospered when our funding is totally inadequate? If we'd had the £3.5m like everyone else we'd be flying, but we had to pick up players no one else wanted. I think they're breaking competition law in the way clubs are funded.
"Then we get fined £15,000. It wasn't bad administration, Mike Scott committed a criminal act, but we've had little support and to have [PRL chief executive] Mark McCafferty on that tribunal after PRL did everything to stop us going up beggared belief.
"The bottom line is the RFU and PRL don't want us there and if that's the situation, London Welsh will have to find a level they can play at. I won't be involved in rugby after the end of this season anywhere in the UK."
Asked if Welsh could drop down the leagues again, he said: "Absolutely. It's happened before and could happen again, but hopefully we'll stay at the Kassam and try to move forward. If they get new investors on the board, may be they can take it back to the Premiership. But what is the point when the funding is so inadequate?"
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
After Brian O'Driscoll's emotional final Ireland appearance on home soil, and seeing the Six Nations boil down to a three-horse race, we bring you the best images of the weekend
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year