Rugby - Phillips allays London Welsh fears

London Welsh chairman Bleddyn Phillips has reassured supporters the club will have the financial resources to compete in next season's Championship, and revealed the Exiles could continue playing home games in the Oxford area.

PA Sport
Rugby - Phillips allays London Welsh fears
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London Welsh chairman Bleddyn Phillips believes his side has the money to compete in the Championship next season

The Exiles' season was undermined by the five-point penalty and £15,000 fine for fielding scrum-half Tyson Keats in 10 Premiership fixtures when he was ineligible. Mike Scott, the former London Welsh team manager, was banned for life from rugby over his role in the matter after he admitted supplying false information regarding New Zealander Keats.

The possibility of Welsh suffering further punishment over Keats' registration has been raised after European Rugby Cup brought a misconduct complaint against them after the half-back played in one of their Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures. But Phillips has moved to allay fears over the club's financial situation and said in a club statement: "I am pleased to say that we have in place the financial resources to ensure we can indeed compete effectively among the top Championship clubs next season."

Phillips added: "This is fundamental to our continued success and to ensure that the all the hard work and success we have achieved is not allowed to dissipate and be squandered over the coming season.

"There are several people who have already committed substantial funds for next season and we are confident that several more will likewise lend their support in the weeks ahead."

Phillips also revealed the club would prefer to continue to play in Oxford, having played home games at the Kassam Stadium, as opposed to their traditional Old Deer Park ground, last season.

He said: "There are at least two or three opportunities available to us in terms of ground location in the region for next season (including the Kassam Stadium where we have the option but not obligation to renew).

"There have been a number of discussions with several grounds and local clubs and we are very close to finalising what we trust will be an optimum solution for the club in both financial terms as well as the level of facilities available next season.

"Ease of access, public transport and parking are of course all elements which likewise need to be taken into account and we very much hope and expect a decision to be made within the next week to 10 days.

"This of course is in addition to returning to Old Deer Park which remains very much an option but which is perhaps less consistent with an avowed intent to remain a strongly competitive Championship/Premiership club."

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