Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards slammed the decision of Ealing Trailfinders to consider taking legal advice on the outcome of the Championship in the 2019/20 season.
Newcastle are at the top of the table after winning all their 15 games with 71 points while Ealing are at second with 53 points from 14 matches.
However, the outbreak of the coronavirus meant, the rest of the season has been cancelled leaving uncertainty on the result of the competition. With Saracens already confirmed relegation from the top tier following salary cap breaches, the Falcons are likely to make a return to the top tier in the next season but Ealing wants to exercise the legal option.
“We are taking counsel at the moment from a legal perspective as to what our position is," said Ealing Trailfinders director of rugby Ben Ward.
The news did not not go well with Richards, who slammed the timing of such a move from the Ealing counterpart
“At a time of national crisis we should be focusing all our attention on helping the most vulnerable, both within our own organisations and in wider society, rather than instructing legal representation," he told the official site of the club.
“The RFU have publicly committed to a review to decide the outcome of the league, and we had intended keeping a respectful silence to avoid any suggestion of influencing this process.
“However, with Ealing actively choosing to use the front page of a national publication to dangle the possible threat of legal action against this review, we no longer feel able to keep quiet.”
“Difficult decisions have to be made in these unprecedented times, when people’s lives and livelihoods are being lost. If Ealing’s primary concern is whether they can bridge the 18-point gap between our two teams to gain promotion, then that reflects very poorly on them considering everything else going on in the world right now.
“Instead of spending money on legal counsel we will be directing it to those who need it most, and while Ealing might point out that their game in hand is against the bottom club in Yorkshire Carnegie, it should be considered that we also have a home game against Yorkshire Carnegie as one of our seven remaining matches".
Richards also stressed on the dominance of the Falcons in the season until now and believes they were clearly the best team of the competition.
“We have won all 15 of our league games this season, beating every single team in the division, including a bonus-point victory away to Ealing in a match which saw them gaining no points in the standings. Our players and supporters have been outstanding all season, in a huge collective effort.
“Ealing, meanwhile, have lost two and drawn one of their 14 games in the league despite having played a game less than us, and their remaining eight fixtures would have seen them playing against the two teams who have already defeated them – ourselves and Cornish Pirates.
“We fully appreciate that having an RFU review to decide the outcome of the season is not a perfect situation, but these are not perfect times.
“Anyone with any sense of reason or fairness can see what should happen, but rather than using the pages of a national publication to discuss legal action we will just allow this process to reach a logical conclusion".