RAMS have been hit with a five point deduction by the RFU for an admin error to deliver a blow to their hopes of promotion in National League One.
A statement from the Rams Chairman Andy Lynch on their club website reads: “I regret to announce that following the Club’s submission of its Payment of Players Declaration via the GMS (Game Management System) to the RFU in late March 2019, the RFU Disciplinary Panel have decided the Club should be sanctioned by an immediate five league points deduction, and a remaining 15 point deduction, suspended for two seasons.”
The Rams have enjoyed a spectacular debut season in National League One having won promotion to the division for the first time last season.
Their remarkable season had put them in the hunt for a double promotion, keeping ground with league leaders Richmond for much of the season, but the five point deduction sanctioned by the RFU has dealt a serious blow to their hopes of moving up another division.
Rams are currently in fourth place in National League One having won 17 of their 23 league games this season and with a game in hand to play over the three sides above them in the table.
They continued their exceptional season with a home victory over Rotherham Titans last Saturday.
The statement continues:“I would like to explain what has happened and the process applied by the RFU over this matter in order to give our players, coaches, members and supporters a clear understanding of this judgement. We have learnt a lot from this process and hope that our experience with the RFU’s new Regulation seven can help other clubs avoid making any unfortunate errors.
“We later learned that we had failed to tick the correct box via the RFU’s GMS, which had asked ‘Do any players or playing coaches receive any material benefit for playing rugby for the club, whether directly of via a third party’ and as a result we submitted an incorrect return.
“The inaccuracy in the declaration was drawn to the Club’s attention by the RFU’s disciplinary department in early April 2019 and written submissions were immediately made to the RFU regarding what the Club believed to be a mistake in completing and signing the form.
“Following a four month investigation the RFU decided to exercise its powers and charge the Club with a breach of Regulation seven (Payment of Players) by a disciplinary charge dated September, 4 2019. The case was then passed to a Disciplinary Panel who looked at written submissions and heard evidence from both ourselves and the RFU between October 2019 and January 2020 to establish the case and decide the sanction to be applied.”
The full statement can be read on the Rams website. They continue their National League One campaign with an away trip to eighth placed side Old Elthamians on Saturday (2pm kick off).