Aviva Premiership
London Welsh hit by backer's withdrawal
ESPN Staff
April 15, 2013
London Welsh head coach Lyn Jones jogs across the pitch before his team's clash with Harlequins, Harlequins v London Welsh, Aviva Premiership, Twickenham Stoop, London, England, September 7, 2012
A bad Sunday on and off the pitch for Lyn Jones' team © Getty Images

On the day they were relegated from the top flight, London Welsh suffered another blow with the news their majority shareholder revealed he will walk away at the end of the season.

Kelvin Bryon, who played a major role in funding the club's rise into the Aviva Premiership and saving them from liquidation in 2009, has called time after a season in which the Exiles were docked points and fined for fielding an ineligible player.

Bryon believes the Exiles have been harshly treated by the Rugby Football Union and Premier Rugby. "I'm pulling out, that's absolutely definite, and I've had enough of the RFU and PRL," he told The Rugby Paper. "I've had 20 years with London Welsh, one of the great rugby brands, but everything's been done to get us back out of the division.

"I've done a hell of a lot for of rugby but there's hardly a Welshman in the side, so what's the point? I think the EQP system is a restraint of trade but the RFU don't seem to worry that clubs like Saracens are South African owned.

"How could we have prospered when our funding is totally inadequate? If we'd had the £3.5m like everyone else we'd be flying, but we had to pick up players no one else wanted. I think they're breaking competition law in the way clubs are funded.

"Then we get fined £15,000. It wasn't bad administration, Mike Scott committed a criminal act, but we've had little support and to have [PRL chief executive] Mark McCafferty on that tribunal after PRL did everything to stop us going up beggared belief.

"The bottom line is the RFU and PRL don't want us there and if that's the situation, London Welsh will have to find a level they can play at. I won't be involved in rugby after the end of this season anywhere in the UK."

Asked if Welsh could drop down the leagues again, he said: "Absolutely. It's happened before and could happen again, but hopefully we'll stay at the Kassam and try to move forward. If they get new investors on the board, may be they can take it back to the Premiership. But what is the point when the funding is so inadequate?"

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