The RFU have confirmed that Plymouth Albion will start next season with a points disadvantage as part of their punishment for what they call a ‘highly negligent and inaccurate declaration’ in relation to payment of players.
The charge stems from the 2018/9 season when Albion were asked to submit a form declaring what payments were made to players during the campaign.
According to Dave Venables, whose family own the club, the points deduction was supposed to have been taken into account in 2019/20, but wasn’t due to the campaign ending prematurely due to the outbreak of Covid-19. Instead, the RFU will carry it over to the 2020/21 season.
"Sadly the RFU appear culturally and spiritually illiterate"— The Rugby Paper (@TheRugbyPaper) July 28, 2020
Plymouth Albion owner Dave Venables writes scalding letter to RFU after being issued with hefty points deduction and £20,000 sanctions for 'ticking the wrong box' in admin documenthttps://t.co/6TrstMSpjo
Defending his son Max, who was responsible for the initial box-ticking error, Venables wrote in an open letter: “I am both disappointed and ashamed by the actions, attitude and position the RFU and the members of the disciplinary committee have taken over this issue,” wrote
“It was no more than an innocent clerical error made by a ‘rookie’ administrator who has worked tirelessly to turn around a club from struggling for survival to a happy, friendly and hospitable club in addition to a profit-making business in its own right.
“Quite why the disciplinary panel, including a Silk, would see fit to have a need to go as far as to impose punishment on a member club for an inconsequential administrative error escapes me.
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“Indeed, it flies in the face of the ethos, nature and character that once epitomised Rugby Union.”
Venables added: “It occurs to me that the disciplinary committee have behaved with a level of Dickensian authoritarian arrogance.
“Imposing the deduction of 20 points in addition to withholding the much needed £20,000 travel support grant is akin to strapping a medieval soldier to a gun carriage wheel and whipping him, in-front of his company, simply for failing to polish all his tunic buttons!”
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LIST | 4 rugby superstars who MASSIVELY underachieved on Lions tours
Despite being built up to play starring roles for the British & Irish Lions, sometimes it simply doesn’t work out…
1. Stuart Hogg (Scotland) – 2017
After touring with the Lions in Australia four years previously, the Scotland fullback was tipped to be one of Warren Gatland’s key men when they faced the All Blacks in 2017.
However, starting against NZ Provincial Barbarians in the tour opener, Hogg was given a four out of 10 after he made ‘many errors’ and butchered a simple try scoring pass to Anthony Watson in a poor display.
One week later, despite a much improved opening 20 minutes, Hogg was injured after being caught by the elbow of team-mate Conor Murray in an accidental collision, with the superstar departing the tour before the start of the Test Matches.
More down to the pre-tour hype than his poor performance alone, this was so disappointing.