Archive - Tuesday, 17 July 2012
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Pontypool RFC landed £400k bill after court battle
PONTYPOOL RFC has been landed with an estimated £400,000 legal costs bill after losing its High Court bid for reinstatement to the Premiership.
The club has fought valiantly for months against the Welsh Rugby Union's decision to drop it from a newly constituted 12-team top division.
But today, a senior judge said it would have been better for the club to have accepted an offer from the Union to allow it to drop its case weeks ago.
The offer would have meant Pontypool accepted it had to play in the Championship, but would not have had to pay the legal costs bills run up by the Union.
"Given the outcome of the action, it can now be said that Pontypool should have accepted the WRU's offer of 28th of May to drop hands,"
said Sir Raymond Jack.
WRU Lawyers estimated the costs of the case at about 400,000, with approximately 250,000 run up by the Union, which was represented in court by a top QC.
Prior to last month's hearing, Pontypool's backers had to give an assurance that they would be able to pay the Union's "reasonable"
costs if the judge ruled against the club.
But earlier today, it was revealed that the club's lawyers think there could still be a way that it can play in the Premiership in the 2012-13 season.
Barrister, Ian Rogers, said the fact that Carmarthen Quins has not yet secured a vital A-licence, relating to stadium facilities, put Pontypool in "pole position".
If Carmarthen is unable to obtain a licence, then the 12th and final place in the new Premiership could go to Pontypool, he told the High Court.
But the Union's barrister, Adam Lewis QC, disputed the claim, saying the planned new league was only increased from 10 to 12 teams to include Carmarthen and Bridgend specifically.
Sir Raymond said the case had not been easy for anyone and paid tribute to the club's legal team for making sure it was so "hard fought".