Premiership door shut to Welsh
London Welsh hopes of reaching the Premiership have been dealt a major blow hours at the eleventh hour.
The Exiles travel to the Cornish Pirates tonight for the first leg of the Championship final knowing the RFU's board of directors have ruled the club is not elligible for promotion should they win the two-legged tie.
An independent audit has found the club has not met the minimum standard criteria for the top flight, with auditors identifying various failures, including not having primacy of tenure at their nominated ground.
Welsh had hoped they could host home games at Oxford United's Kassam Stadium, however, an RFU statmennt has ruled the move would not meet standards set by the Professional Game Board.
"A club must demonstrate that they can host home fixtures at the time stipulated by Premiership Rugby and/or the host broadcaster," said the statement.
"The RFU Board ratified the findings and agreed, should London Welsh win the RFU Championship final following the second leg on May 30, they would not be eligible for promotion and Newcastle Falcons would remain in the Aviva Premiership."
London Welsh have the right to appeal and would be required to do so within 14 days of the decision.