1. ITV Report

Newcastle Falcons promotion set to be confirmed as RFU end Championship season

Kingston Park, home of Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club. Credit: PA

Newcastle Falcons' promotion to the Premiership looks set to be rubber-stamped after the Rugby Football Union Council agreed to conclude the Greene King IPA Championship season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The side led the league by 18 points from Ealing Trailfinders when competition was forced to stop due to the pandemic.

Saracens have already accepted relegation from the Premiership due to breaches of salary cap regulations.

The RFU said that the final standings for the 2019-20 Championship and also the men's and women's community game would be calculated on a best playing record formula.

The organisation's 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 per cent 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 those who have said they would benefit from relegation to play more meaningful rugby."

– Peter Wheeler, RFU President

The RFU said the final tables will be published by 6pm on Friday.

Newcastle Falcons' chairman Semore Kurdi said there was no air of celebration about their promotion and that sport "pales into insignificance during times of national emergency".

He 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.

– Semore Kurdi, Newcastle Falcons chairman

The club thanked the players, staff and supporters for their part in the side's 15 game unbeaten league run.