9:30am Saturday 9th March 2013
By Mark Edwards
LONDON Welsh plan to be playing rugby at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium next season no matter what division they end up in.
The decision to dock the Exiles five points after a Rugby Football Union hearing found them guilty of playing an ineligible player leaves them bottom of the Aviva Premiership.
But chief executive Tony Copsey told the Oxford Mail yesterday that they hope to stay in the city, even if they fail to beat the drop.
“We have said all along that we have a five-year plan and that has not changed,” he said.
“We do have to be realistic though – at this moment the club relies on private investors.
“But we would dearly love to be at the Kassam (next season) no matter what division we are in.”
Copsey is still upset at the punishment handed to Welsh, feeling that the club have been too harshly penalised for the actions of one individual, Mike Scott.
Welsh’s ex-team manager was banned for life yesterday at a separate RFU hearing relating to the registration of the same player – scrum half Tyson Keats.
Scott was charged with falsifying a player registration form by stating Keats was English and was born in Christchurch.
The RFU judgement reports that Scott ‘has already accepted a Simple Caution from the Metropolitan Police and in doing so admitted the charge of fraud by false representation contrary to sections 1 and 2 of the Fraud Act 2006’.
And Copsey says that it is not the club who should be punished.
“We are very disappointed about the judgement – shocked still,” he said.
“When you consider the speed with which everything had to be done in the summer – we basically had only a month to prepare for life in the Premiership – this club has come a very long way in a short space of time.
“I am desperately sorry for the players and all the great supporters that have come to our matches in Oxford.
“We will fight this all the way – it is about the integrity of our great sport of rugby.”
Michael Doyle, general manager of the Kassam Stadium, said: “We are delighted to have London Welsh playing their matches here in Oxford and are looking forward to working with them next season hopefully in the Aviva Premiership, but if not then the Championship.”
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