Newcastle Falcons have confirmed receipt of the Rugby Football Union’s decision to promote the club to the Premiership for the 2020-21 season. The Falcons were 18 points clear at the top of the Greene King IPA Championship, having won all 15 of their league games, when the RFU took the decision to cancel the remainder of the season due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The RFU committed to undertake a review to ensure fair and balanced outcomes for the game, and that review is now complete. Proposals from the RFU governance committee to conclude the season for those leagues at both professional and community level were ratified by the RFU Council. It was agreed that final standings for the Greene King IPA Championship and men’s and women’s community game would be calculated on a best playing record formula, maintaining promotion and relegation for those leagues.
RFU President, Peter Wheeler, said: “We believe that the decisions made provide fair and balanced outcomes for the game and maintain the integrity of the competitions. We have listened to recommendations from the heart of the game and the approach has been ratified by the RFU Council.
“This has been a difficult decision to make in the most unprecedented of circumstances. There is no single solution that will suit every club, but the approach taken is one that we believe best reflects the nature of league rugby in England.
“With 80% of the season complete for the community game, we believe our approach is fair and the right one for our leagues. We have clubs that are clear league leaders and worthy of promotion, but also other clubs who have said they would benefit from relegation, to play more meaningful rugby.”
Newcastle Falcons chairman Semore Kurdi said: “These aren’t the circumstances under which any team would want to be promoted, but we thank the RFU for reaching a quick and decisive conclusion.
“We fully appreciate the bigger picture with regards to the ongoing pandemic, and how sport pales into insignificance during times of national emergency.
“With that in mind there is no real sense of celebration at the confirmation of our promotion – our thoughts just go out to everyone who has been affected by the whole situation.
“I would like to express my appreciation and personal gratitude for all the hard work undertaken by our players and staff prior to the season being prematurely halted, and thank our supporters, sponsors and stakeholders for sticking with us.
“This huge collective effort enabled us to produce an incredible campaign which saw us winning every single game – 15 in the league and a further seven in the cup.
“We thank everyone for their patience and understanding during this uncertain time as we all deal with issues which are far bigger than rugby. We are doing our best to manage our way through this situation with everyone’s best interests at heart, and in the meantime would just urge everyone to stay safe and continue to follow government advice.”
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