LIONS: Is this the end?

Rugby Lions
Rugby Lions

The survival of Rugby Lions should be decided on Monday.

Unless all rugby-related debts have been paid and the RFU convinced of their future funding, Lions will be thrown out of their new league.

Again the Advertiser has not been able to speak to anyone from the club to find out the chances of this deadline being met and supporters will be understandably angry at the lack of information.

Even if Lions can satisfy the RFU, they will start the season with a 30-point penalty.

Pre-season training, which should have started on Monday, is rumoured to have been put back until Saturday at the earliest.

And, even if Lions are allowed to play, it is still not known what sort of team might face Worthing at Webb Ellis Road on September 1.

Coached by Neil Back, Lions were unbeaten champions of National League 3 (Midlands) last season, but players, staff and creditors are still owed thousands of pounds.

The company which businessman Mike Aland set up to run the club after he took over last year has been wound-up, leaving Lions with an uncertain future.

On Thursday the RFU issued this statement and informed the other National Clubs Association (NCA) member clubs.

The statement said: “The Rugby Football Union has been in constant dialogue with Rugby Lions following the imposition of the winding up order on The Rugby Football Club (2011) Limited.

“Under RFU Regulations, as creditors of The Rugby Football Club (2011) Limited were not paid within the six-week deadline stipulated in the RFU Regulations, the club will suffer an automatic penalty of 30 points.

“Under the RFU Regulations, due to the insolvency of The Rugby Football Club (2011) Limited, the RFU may impose conditions on Rugby Lions’ participation in RFU competitions in the 2012/13 season.

“The RFU has today written to Rugby Lions setting out that in order to participate in National League Two South in the 2012/13 season, it must satisfy the RFU as to its ability to meet its obligations to third parties during the 2012/13 season and make adequate provision for creditors of The Rugby Football Club (2011) Limited.

“The RFU hopes to confirm on August 20, 2012 whether those requirements have been met, and whether Rugby Lions will participate in National League Two South in the 2012/13 season.

“If Rugby Lions are not permitted to participate, National League Two South will continue with 15 clubs in 2012/13.

“The objective of the RFU as a National Governing Body is to support our clubs and keep players on the field in successful competitions, but we have a responsibility to establish that clubs operate in a sustainable manner.”

MP Mark Pawsey said: “Everybody in the town wants to see the club survive and rebuild after what has happened.”

And although it may be the least of their problems, he is worried about the effect the 30-point penalty would have on the emerging side.

“I accept it’s the rules, but for that team to go into the season with 30 points difference it makes an already challenging situation even more difficult,” he said. “We have a great heritage and everybody wants to see as good a quality of rugby here as we can here.”