LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) - London Welsh were deducted five Premiership points on Thursday with a further five-point deduction suspended until the end of next season for fielding ineligible player Tyson Keats.
The club, who won a court battle to join the Premiership this season, are now bottom of the table two points behind Sale Sharks with five matches remaining.
New Zealand-born scrumhalf Keats, 31, has played 10 Premiership matches for London Welsh this season without being correctly registered.
A Rugby Football Union (RFU) statement said London Welsh had also been fined 15,000 pounds ($22,600). The club have 14 days in which to appeal.
The chairman of an RFU Premiership Regulations Panel of Inquiry Jeremy Summers said the sanction was imposed to “reflect the seriousness of the matter”.
“This was an extraordinary case and one that is hoped will never be repeated,” he said.
$1 = 0.6645 British pounds Reporting by John Mehaffey, editing by Pritha Sarkar