London Welsh: RFU refuses permission for Exiles to stay in Championship

London Welsh
London Welsh were 11th in the Championship table after being deducted 20 points

London Welsh have ceased to exist as a professional club after being refused permission to stay in the Championship by the Rugby Football Union.

The Exiles were granted a temporary licence on 22 December to play their last two league games after going into liquidation last month.

However, the RFU says the Old Deer Park club have not met the conditions required to extend that licence.

Welsh were formed in 1885, and produced 177 Wales internationals.

They were a Premiership side as recently as 2015, when they were based at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford but were relegated after losing all 22 games.

And the Richmond-based club, who had a winding-up order issued against them dismissed on Monday, were 11th in the Championship, having been deducted 20 points for going into liquidation.

Welsh had been hoping to complete the season as a phoenix entity, but they were unable to provide a bond to the RFU or show evidence they would be able to pay rugby creditors in full.

All their results will be expunged from the Championship, and there will be no relegation from the second tier this season.

RFU chairman Andy Cosslett said Welsh's place in the league was "untenable".

He added: "It is deeply regrettable that we should arrive at this point.

"We know this will be an extremely disappointing day for everyone connected with London Welsh. The sadness at the loss of this club from the professional ranks will be shared throughout the game."

Reaction to the Exiles' demise

Former London Welsh head coach Lyn Jones told BBC Radio Wales: "My reaction was disappointment and shock because I thought that discussions, meetings, negotiations were going well.

"It's a terrible day for rugby union and especially a fantastic club in London Welsh.

"London Welsh was once upon a time a great club but professionalism came and it struggled. There was never the infrastructure there for the club to succeed on a professional level in the Premiership and subsequently this is a knock-on effect."

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