London Irish players have been instructed to brace themselves for a challenging situation as the club faces the imminent prospect of being suspended from the Gallagher Premiership due to their inability to secure funding for the upcoming season.
Following a virtual meeting on Friday evening, it appears increasingly certain that the downfall of the Exiles is imminent.
Representatives from the RFU, Premiership Rugby, and the players’ union, the RPA, engaged in the discussion.
Notably, current owner Mick Crossan was invited but opted not to participate, raising doubts about his commitment to financially support London Irish in the upcoming season.
Furthermore, players were informed that the English rugby authorities have yet to establish a clear picture regarding the club’s prospective new owners.
Players agents have already been speaking to clubs amid mounting fears there is little hope of a takeover by a US consortium going through in time to save the club.
The Exiles, who have debts of more than £30million, have been set a deadline of May 30 by the Rugby Football Union to prove that they have completed an approved takeover, or provide evidence that they have the funds to complete next season.
Failure to meet this deadline would result in London Irish being suspended from the Premiership, exacerbating their already precarious situation.
With a staggering debt of £30 million, owner Mick Crossan had previously expressed his willingness to sell the club for a mere pound if given the opportunity.
The potential consequences of the takeover falling through are dire, casting doubt on Crossan’s future investment and jeopardizing London Irish’s continued existence as a Premiership club.
Recognising the potential risks involved, the RFU, Premiership Rugby, and the Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) are determined to avoid a repeat of last season’s mid-season collapses of Wasps and Worcester, both of which went into administration and were subsequently relegated.
In a statement issued by the union, they emphasised the need to address the prevailing uncertainty and speculation surrounding the club’s future, as it is impacting players, staff, and fans alike.
They wrote: ‘The proposed takeover of London Irish by an American consortium has led to a significant amount of uncertainty and speculation about the future of the club, which is having an impact on players, staff, and fans of the club. As a result, the RFU, Premiership Rugby and the RPA is seeking to take action to obtain greater clarity on the future of London Irish.’
The RFU, Premiership Rugby, and the RPA are taking decisive action to seek greater clarity regarding the future of London Irish and to mitigate the potential risks associated with their current situation.
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