Rugby votes to void season and saves Falkirk RFC from the drop in Tennent’s National League

Falkirk will be back in Tennent's League Division Two next term. Pic by Alan Murray.Falkirk will be back in Tennent's League Division Two next term. Pic by Alan Murray.
Falkirk will be back in Tennent's League Division Two next term. Pic by Alan Murray. | Johnston Press Resell
Falkirk rugby club has avoided the drop after Scottish rugby clubs decided to declare season 2019-20 null and void – with no relegation or promotion.

A consultation with clubs including Falkirk and Grangemouth ended with around half - including the Sunnysiders - voting to wipe the season at its’ current point of closure.

The second-most popular option, backed by a quarter of those polled, to use the latest league standings as final, was not successful meaning second-bottom Falkirk were spared relegation from Tennent’s National League Division Two.

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It means the Sunnysiders and the Stags will resume from their current league status and Falkirk president Bill Faulds told members and supporters it felt “a little trite to arbitrarily concoct a mechanism to replace final league standings” at a time with “people dying, businesses going bust and lifetime savings getting trashed”.

He went on to thank players, coaches supporters and the club committee for their efforts during the aborted season.

Scottish rugby had already decided to cease all remaining games scheduled for the season and prepare for a fresh start in season 2020-21 while deciding how to conclude the standings of the present term.

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The SRU statement said the declaration on the season was recommended by the Convenor of the Championship Committee, the Reserve League Committee Chair and the Chair of the Women’s Competition Committee. Their recommendation was supported by Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby Development.

The Council’s endorsement of the proposal was then ratified by the Scottish Rugby Board in its role to oversee the best interests of the game, with authority then granted to the Championship Committee to bring the recommendation into force.

Scottish Rugby President Dee Bradbury said: “It was clear from the outset that, in terms of the consequential impact on the various leagues in terms of promotion/relegation there would be no “right” solution, particularly once it was clear that our preferred option of completing the season would no longer be possible.

“Every solution we looked at was likely to be problematic in some way - none was likely to be supported by everyone. It was therefore considered essential that the full range of options were explored, each potential option was sense checked and that, as far as possible, a broad consensus was reached across the game as to the most appropriate outcome.

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“We fully accept some clubs will be disappointed with this decision and share their frustration that, for wider societal reasons beyond our control, their hard work to push for success this season hasn’t yielded the rewards they deserve.”

Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby Development Sheila Begbie said: “It was important we went through a thorough process to canvass opinion and offer a range of options for how the season could be concluded.

“I would like to thank all the clubs that contributed to this process and for their valuable input. I know the Competitions Committees and Convenors have put in a huge amount of time to ensure there was a credible outcome for every club, and while there are obviously clubs who will be disappointed, I believe this is a fair solution for everyone in these unprecedented circumstances.”

Dougie Belmore, Championship Committee Convenor said: “Extensive discussion and consultation has taken place with the various Championship and Competition Committee members, together with representatives from a wide range of Clubs at all levels of the game. Following this exercise, the clear agreed position is that, due to the unprecedented events currently unfolding globally, Season 2019/20 should be declared null and void. A number of alternative options have been explored in detail, with the majority of Clubs supporting this outcome.”

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