It’s difficult to escape the feeling that somehow, via a dizzyingly circuitous route, justice has finally been done in respect of Birmingham & Solihull.
The RFU last week stung them for two-points following a registration error in their match with Doncaster on February 17.
It transpired that George Thomas’s loan from Loughborough University had not been preceded by the requisite bureaucratic hoop-jumping and as a result his participation in that match had considerably more significance than a five-minute cameo would suggest.
Bees will now start the relegation play-offs on minus-two points, which doesn’t sound a lot but even if they beat whoever they face in their first match - let’s say Moseley for example, and the Red and Blacks take a loss bonus, they could still only be one point in arrears. That’s some punishment.
At the time of writing Bees are considering their options and whether they have the grounds for an appeal.
The feeling at Sharmans Cross is that they certainly have a moral argument if not a legal one. The breach was a regular season offence and should be met with a regular season penalty. A fair position, in my opinion.
However, things are not that clear. Their participation in the play-offs is an anathema to some clubs, especially those who have not absolved themselves of their commitments to the Inland Revenue.
The move into liquidation cost Bees 15 points and laid waste to their entire season. From October onwards it was clear they were going to finish in the bottom four.
But the fact they will meet, other, better-run rivals on an equal footing at the relegation play-off starting line is a ludicrous situation.
Their 15 points, just as Coventry’s, should have been split with ten to apply in the regular campaign and five in the post-season.
That the RFU lacked the courage to take this stance was a derogation of their responsibility to the rest of the Championship. And in private moments the Union have admitted something like that.
But if, as it has been suggested, this was a case of the RFU finally nailing their man, then it’s an underhand and backward way of going about it.
Clearly I wasn’t in the committee room when the decision was reached, nor was I privy to the justification but from the outside looking in, this strange judgement appears to be a case of score-settling and in that respect the ends do not justify the means.