Aviva Premiership
Newcastle opt against appeal
ESPN Staff
July 3, 2012
Jimmy Gopperth expresses his disappointment at the full-time whistle, Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins, Aviva Premiership, Kingston Park, Newcastle, March 2, 2012
Newcastle will play their rugby in the Championship next term © Getty Images
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The Newcastle Falcons have confirmed that they will not appeal the decision to allow London Welsh promotion to the Aviva Premiership.

An independent panel opted to uphold London Welsh's appeal against the decision to block their entry to the Premiership which therefore relegated the Falcons to the RFU Championship ahead of next season.

Newcastle were rumoured to be tempted by the option to take that decision to the High Court in an attempt to overturn the decision, but they have now confirmed that they are preparing for life in the Championship.

"We are now looking forward to an exciting new era under the guidance of incoming director of rugby Dean Richards," a statement said on their website. "Richards' first league game in charge will be Bristol on the weekend of Saturday September 1 with the first home game of the campaign against Doncaster Knights on Friday September 14."

In related news, Premiership Rugby CEO Mark McCafferty has proposed replacing replacing the Rugby Football Union with an independent panel to make the final decision on promotion into the top flight. The RFU originally opted to block London Welsh's appeal to the Premiership only for it to be overturned on the grounds that the minimum standards criteria breached European competition law.

McCafferty has now called for more independence in the decision process behind allowing entry to the Premiership. "The criteria are drafted and approved by the PGB (Professional Game Board)," McCafferty said. "If there are any issues within that to address it is the responsibility of the PGB to do that.

"The issue of whether or not a club is promoted, and the basis on which that happens, is a decision for the RFU board. That is the check and balance. There are ways to look at that in the future. There is a range of possibilities. One possibility is that decision (over promotion) goes straight to an independent panel each year. Clearly to the extent the RFU is involved in the criteria, it might be conflicted when it comes to making a decision.

"There is the risk that they are involved in the criteria and they are involved in judging on it. Is it as independent as it needs to be? You have also got the case the Championship competition (which London Welsh won) is an RFU competition. Naturally there will be concerns over conflicts. What we learned from last week is that we need independence in the process."

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