Sport Rugby

Monday 11 December 2017

Former London Welsh manager banned for life

Andrew Gwilym

FORMER London Welsh team manager Mike Scott has today been handed a lifetime suspension from any involvement in rugby union by a Rugby Football Union 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.


Keats appeared in 10 Premiership games this term while not holding effective registration with the RFU. London Welsh have been handed a five-point deduction from their Aviva Premiership tally and a £15,000 fine as a result, although the club have confirmed they will appeal the decision.


An RFU statement read: "Mike Scott was today suspended from the management, coaching or playing of rugby union and membership of any club for life following an RFU Misconduct Hearing.


"The former London Welsh team manager may not apply for the order to be lifted for 10 years."


London Welsh, who now sit bottom of the Aviva Premiership two points behind Sale Sharks, also had a further five-point deduction suspended until the end of next season.


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 has 14 days to appeal the judgement.


The written judgement outlining the sanctions against London Welsh, which was made public on Thursday night following an RFU hearing on Tuesday, revealed Scott had been cautioned by police over his role in the matter.


Scott had told Keats' agent and London Welsh that the scrum-half had been granted an ancestry visa by virtue of his paternal grandfather, who was born in England.


This should have meant London Welsh received English Qualified Player payments from the RFU, due to Keats being available for selection to the national squad.


However, Keats had not been granted a visa.


Scott, having asked Keats to sign a blank form, then submitted falsified documents to the RFU.


It claimed Keats had been born in Christchurch, England, as opposed to Christchurch, New Zealand, and held a UK passport.


When the RFU made further inquiries regarding Keats' registration, Scott sent a forged UK passport to the governing body.


Scott went on sick leave in December, after failing to turn up for an Amlin Challenge Cup game against Grenoble, 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".


When London Welsh's interim team manager David Jenkins became aware that the RFU were in possession of forged documents, he alerted club chief executive Tony Copsey, who instigated an internal investigation, requested an urgent meeting with the RFU and informed the police.

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