CHINNOR have been handed a five-point deduction for using an unregistered agent in the signing of two players last year.

The points deduction sees Chinnor slip below Birmingham Moseley into eighth, with both teams on 53 points.

Taunton Titans are a point behind Chinnor, in ninth.

In a statement, Chinnor chairman Simon Vickers said: “It is with regret that I confirm the Rugby Football Union (RFU) has issued a sanction of an immediate five-point deduction for being in contravention of regulation 8.4.1 in respect of having dealings with an unregistered agent in the recruitment of two players last year.

“This was brought to our attention a few months ago by the RFU following scrutiny of the paperwork that was submitted by us that listed the unregistered agents.

“We immediately acknowledged that we had contravened the regulation, apologised and undertook to put measures in place to ensure that it did not happen again. We cooperated fully with the subsequent investigation by the RFU.

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“The RFU determined that they would bring a charge and we attended remotely a Zoom tribunal several weeks ago.

“We submitted that the error was an innocent one as our director of rugby was not aware of the regulations and drew their attention to the extenuating circumstances of having to rebuild a squad from scratch and the financial effects of Covid that had put considerable strain on our volunteers.

“The tribunal accepted that no harm was caused by the contravention and indeed two players were successfully recruited.

“We also drew their attention to precedent in which a club at a similar level to ours knew about the regulations and contravened them and received a suspended deduction of points.

“We argued that all of these matters should warrant a lenient consideration of the charge, but the tribunal made the point that it was for them to determine the severity of the sentence which they duly did.

“It might be thought by some that having regard to the circumstances we have been treated harshly by this sanction.

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“The board has taken account of advice regarding the prospects of successfully appealing the decision and the impact that a further inquiry would have on our volunteers who help to run the club and has decided against lodging an appeal.

“At Chinnor, we always strive for high standards in all that we do and unfortunately in this instance we have not met that bar.

“We will ensure that it does not happen again and we apologise to our players, management team, members and supporters as they had no part in this and will be disappointed. We all know how hard points are to come by on the pitch.

“We would urge all clubs to thoroughly ensure that in the recruitment of players any agents they use are registered at the RFU.

“There is no doubt that this has knocked us back in many ways, but the positive approach that we have always adopted in good times and bad should now come to the fore.

“We must now put this behind us and continue to focus our very precious time and energy in a positive direction.

“We must not forget all of our achievements so far in building a club for all and the tremendous progress both on and off the pitch at all levels. I know there is much more to come.”