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Thursday, 9 May, 2002, 12:28 GMT 13:28 UK
Rotherham denied promotion
Rotherham's fate will be revealed on Thursday
Rotherham comfortably claimed the First Division crown
test hello test
By Jonathon Moore
BBC Sport Online

  Have Rotherham been treated unfairly?

Rotherham chief executive Jim Kilfoyle has told BBC Sport Online that his side will not be promoted to the Zurich Premiership.

England Rugby Limited (ERL) met on Tuesday to discuss Rotherham's possible elevation and confirmed on Thursday that the Yorkshire club has failed to meet the minimum entry criteria.

We averaged 40 points both home and away and now those sides have got to face us again
Jim Kilfoyle,
Rotherham chief exec
"We haven't been given an explicit reason," said Kilfoyle. "But it looks as though it's going to be negative. We're not going up.

"It's a disgrace really. It's a setback to all the aspiring clubs. But we're a hardy bunch and we'll just have to pick up our heads.

"It's a poor message to send out though. It's a major blow. This has knocked us for six"

The First Division champions, who topped the league after losing just two matches, were previously told they were ineligible for promotion because their ground, Clifton Lane, failed to meet the required standards.

The RFU demands that all new clubs entering the Premiership be the principal tenants.

This excludes current Premiership sides such as London Irish, Wasps, Bristol, Leeds and Saracens, who all groundshare.


"We thought we have met all the criteria," said Kilfoyle. "Particularly when we set up a deal with Rotherham United.

"We've spent the past three weeks celebrating. We've scored nearly 1,200 points - no other side has done that.

"We averaged 40 points both home and away and now those sides have got to face us again."

Whilst we are saddened and disappointed with the decision it is one which the club accepts
Rotherham chairman Mike Yarlett

The news will be greeted with relief by Leeds, Bath and Saracens, who are languishing at the bottom of the Premiership.

Phil Davies' Leeds currently occupy bottom place, but victories over champions Leicester, Bath, Saracens, Bristol and Harlequins look to have persuaded the authorities they are worth their Premiership place.

"Leeds have already stated that they're not going to be relegated," Kilfoyle said.

"That hurts a bit when we haven't even been told why we're not going up."

Previously Rotherham took the RFU to court after being forced to play-off when automatic promotion had seem assured, but they lost the case.

And the 250,000 costs incurred mean that Rotherham are not keen to contest this latest rejection and face another large legal bill.

"Whilst we are saddened and disappointed with the decision it is one which the club accepts, " said chairman Mike Yarlett.

BBC Five Live's Alastair Hignell
"Rotherham insist they meet the criteria"
Rotherham chief executive Jim Kilfoyle
"We could compete in the Premiership"
RFU chief Francis Baron
"The Zurich Premiership is a business"
Links to more English stories are at the foot of the page.


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