An independent disciplinary panel has upheld the Hattons Solicitors National Conference League’s decision to demote Leigh East and Heworth following non-fulfilment of fixtures during the 2012 season.
In accordance with league rules both clubs were originally demoted and fined for failing to fulfil one of their fixtures and the independent panel rejected both the appeals of both clubs.
Leigh – who were already relegated from the Premier Division – will now start 2013 in Division Two whilst Heworth will form part of the NCL’s new Division Three.
The Lancashire side did not travel to Skirlaugh for their league game in October, whilst York-based Heworth failed to raise a side for their clash with Widnes West Bank in September.
"The NCL has the deepest sympathy for Heworth and the circumstances that saw them unable to raise a team and for the new members of the Leigh East committee who have to deal with the aftermath of decisions made within their club that have seen them fall from grace,” said NCL Chairman Trevor Hunt.
“However, the competition rules are quite clear with regard to the how the non-fulfilment of fixtures will be dealt with and we are pleased that the appeals committee has ratified that the NCL's due process has been followed and they endorsed the decisions made in both instances.
“Hopefully both clubs can put these sorry issues behind them and look forward to a challenging 2013 that will present them with the opportunity to win and progress up the League table."
The full divisional structure for 2013 will be announced in due course whilst fixtures will be released early next year.