Aviva Premiership
Mike Scott handed life ban by RFU
ESPN Staff
March 8, 2013
London Welsh's Tyson Keats watches on, Saracens v London Welsh, Aviva Premiership, Allianz Park, London, England, March 3, 2013
Former London Welsh rugby manager Mike Scott has paid a heavy price for failing to register scrum-half Tyson Keats correctly © PA Photos

Former London Welsh team manager Mike Scott has been suspended from the management, coaching or playing of rugby union and membership of any club for life following an RFU Misconduct Hearing.

Scott had been charged under RFU Rule 5.12 with "conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Union or the Game" for providing false and misleading information to the governing body over the registration of Exiles scrum-half Tyson Keats.

The New Zealand-born Keats appeared in 10 Premiership games this term while not holding effective registration with the RFU. He arrived in the country last year on a visitor's visa and was therefore not permitted to work and subsequently tried to obtain an ancestry visa - due to the fact his paternal grandfather was born in England - that would clear him to play in the UK and allow the club to claim English Qualified Player payments from the RFU.

But his ancestry visa application was rejected because Scott had omitted some of the required paperwork and he later admitted to falsifying documents, including the submission of a forged passport, in a bid to prove the player was English.

Scott went on sick leave in December but emailed the club's director of rugby Steve Lewis admitting he had created "one almighty mess" because he had been trying to get Keats' visa "through the back door" and he later accepted a police caution. Scott also stressed in his written statement that he had acted alone and no-one else at London Welsh was to blame for his actions.

Keats would eventually secure the correct visa but not before playing a key role in London Welsh's first season in the top flight and the club were subsequently handed a five-point deduction and a £15,000 fine, although they have confirmed they will appeal the decision.

The case was dealt with by Judge Jeff Blackett on papers and without a personal hearing at Scott's request. Scott accepted the allegation against him and submitted a written plea of mitigation. He may not apply for the order to be lifted for 10 years but has 14 days to appeal the judgement.

The written judgement continued: "He said he believed that he had made London Welsh aware of the issue in relation to the passport and player registration, but they mistakenly thought that he was only referring to the player's EQP status. He suspected that his explanation was not that clear as he was not well. He immediately disappeared for a few days having suffered an anxiety attack."

In explaining the sanctions, Blackett said: "There is no place in the game for this type of behaviour or the type of person who would act in such a dishonest manner throughout an extended course of conduct designed to mislead both the Rugby Football Union and his own club.

"In those circumstances the appropriate sanction is that Mr Scott should be suspended from any involvement in the management, coaching or playing of rugby football union in any capacity for the rest of his life. Further he should not be a member of any club affiliated to the RFU for the same period."

The full text of Judge Blackett's written judgment

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