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London Irish suspended from rugby union’s league structure as takeover falls through

Bynewsmagzines

Jun 6, 2023
London Irish suspended from rugby union's league structure as takeover falls through

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London Irish have been suspended from the entire league structure in rugby union after a collapsed takeover.

The club, based in west London, were in talks with an American consortium over a potential acquisition.

London Irish have been suspended from rugby union

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London Irish have been suspended from rugby unionCredit: Getty
They play their home games at Brentford's stadium

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They play their home games at Brentford’s stadiumCredit: Getty

However, neither they nor current owner Mick Crossan could prove they had enough finances to compete in the 2023/24 season.

As well as this, 50 per cent of the wages for players and staff in the month of May were not paid ahead of the Rugby Football Union’s deadline of 4pm on Tuesday.

Irish, who finished fifth in the Premiership, now join Wasps and Worcester as casualties of the financial crisis gripping the Premiership.

The Premiership is now set to consist of just ten teams, despite their previous plans to expand the number to 14.

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RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said: “This is desperately sad news for everyone who is part of the London Irish community as well as all the players, fans, staff and volunteers for whom this club means so much.

“Working alongside Premiership Rugby, the RPA and London Irish over recent months, our collective first priority has been to do the utmost to secure the long-term viability of the club and the protection of its players and staff.

“To achieve this, it was imperative that transparent evidence of funding be presented to us.

“This would have been either by the proposed buyers undertaking to provide all required working capital to meet the club’s obligations for at least the 2023-24 season; or the club providing evidence that it would continue to fund its operations throughout the 2023-24 season.

“Despite requesting this evidence over the last six months and receiving assurances on multiple occasions that we would receive proof of ownership and funds; it has not materialised.”

Irish are said to have debts of around £30million and were told they would need to complete a takeover or prove sufficient funding for next season to avoid suspension.

All staff would also have to have been paid in full, with the club being served a winding up petition by HM Revenue and Customs due to an unpaid tax bill last week.

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