London Irish escape Premiership suspension FOR NOW as RFU offer financially-struggling club a one-week extension to complete US takeover plans
- The London Irish were suspended from the Gallagher Premiership on Wednesday
- But the RFU decided to offer an olive branch, granting the club a short extension
- The Irish now have a week to finalize their bid to take over the club from the United States
The London Irish have been granted a one-week extension to complete their US takeover bid – as revealed by MailSport – in what is a final olive branch offered by the RFU.
It means the capital club have, for now, avoided being suspended from the Gallagher Premiership and becoming the third team to drop out of English rugby’s top flight this season.
England rugby’s governing body has given the Irish every chance of securing a sale to the American consortium interested in the club, as they do not want them to follow the disastrous path of demise taken by both Worcester and Wasps more early in the 2022-23 campaign.
But in a statement on Wednesday evening, the RFU said the final deadline for the takeover will be 4 p.m. on June 6 and will not be extended.
Paula Carter, member of the RFU board and chair of her club’s financial sustainability task force, said: “It is deeply frustrating for all staff, players and fans that there has been months of multiple missed deadlines.” We are extremely disappointed that the club have so far only funded 50% of staff and player salaries.
The RFU has given London Irish a one-week extension to finalize its takeover plan
An American consortium is in the process of buying the club and the RFU have chosen to give them more time
“However, we must respect the wishes of those most affected.
“The 4 p.m. deadline on June 6 is final and we have added the stipulation that the club must also fulfill its contractual obligations to its employees by paying May wages in full.”
Current Irish owner Mick Crossan had agreed to fund player and staff salaries while the wait for the US consortium to complete the purchase of the club continued.
As things stand, only half of the salaries due to club employees have been paid.
Mick Crossan has agreed to fund player and staff salaries until the consortium takes over
Irish have reneged on their original pledge to pay players and staff in full, having offered on Tuesday night to cover half their wages with a promise to pay them in full later.
But the extension was still granted by the RFU to ensure they receive something rather than nothing.
The RFU confirmed: “The extension, until Tuesday June 6, has been granted after consultation with staff and players who have requested that the deadline be extended to allow them to collect 50% of their wages.”
That this is the current situation is a sad situation not only for everyone in Ireland but also for English rugby as a whole.
The race is now on for the US consortium to buy Irish – which is made up of a number of former top US sports stars – to meet the next deadline.
Many London Irish players still face the prospect of having to find a new club next season
Before June 6, they must prove:
- A club takeover has been finalized and approved by the RFU, with the buyers pledging to provide all necessary working capital to meet the club’s obligations as they come due for at least the 2023/24 season; Or
- The club are proving they will continue to be funded to operate throughout the 2023/24 season.
If that doesn’t happen, the Irishman will be suspended from the Premiership and other RFU competitions to avoid a scenario where the club goes into insolvency mid-season.
A suspension would mean the Irish players – headed by Henry Arundell – would be targeted by other clubs.
There is also the very real danger that many will lose their rugby jobs.