Published: 00:00, 07 April 2016
| Updated: 10:09, 07 April 2016
Medway rugby club’s punishment for player registration infringements has been reduced.
The Medway side will still be relegated at the end of the season but their 25 point deduction for the following campaign has been suspended.
It means the club will be able to fight for promotion next season.
Medway are currently in sitting third in London 1 South but regardless of what they do this season, they will be relegated to the division below.
Back in January the club were found guilty by the RFU of breaking a number of rules regarding overseas players, including paying for flight and accommodation, which broke the RFU's amateur player status rules.
Medway admitted their guilt but felt the sanctions were harsh. Fellow Kent side Deal & Betteshanger also felt the punishment was too severe.
Club secretary Peter Rann was initially handed a ban until the start of the 2016/17 season, that has now been reduced by a month.
A statement from the RFU said: “Medway RFC appealed against sanctions imposed by an RFU Disciplinary Panel in January 2016.
“The Appeal, which was heard on Thursday 24 March 2016 at the London Bloomsbury Holiday Inn by a panel comprising James Dingemans (Chair), Mike Curling and John Vale, was allowed to some extent.
“The deduction of 25 points has been suspended and will no longer take effect at the start of next season. The prohibition against the Club Honorary Secretary, Peter Rann, was reduced by one month and his suspension will end on 31st July 2016.
“All other sanctions remain in place, including relegation from London 1 South league and disqualification from participating in the 2015/2016 Kent Cup Competition.
“The Appeal Panel found that these sanctions were appropriate, in particular given that the offences involved a significant number of matches and numerous players over a protracted period of time.”
The RFU have, within their statement, also warned other clubs about committing similar offences.
Dartfordians Rugby Club recently spoke out about the need to look into the affairs of others and the game’s governing body have made it clear they will act if necessary.
The statement added: “The sanctions imposed in this case send out a clear message to the Game that failure to comply with RFU Regulations regarding registration and the contracting of players, will be dealt with appropriately.
“All Clubs are reminded that if they give or receive any monetary or non-monetary ‘Material Benefit’, as defined in RFU Regulation 1, in return for playing Rugby Union on any basis, the Club and Player must at all times comply with all regulatory and legal requirements.”
Medway RFC have yet to make a statement regarding the matter.