London Irish: RFU to decide on Wednesday whether to grant club extra week to complete takeover

London Irish's stadium
London Irish have just enjoyed their best Premiership season since 2008-09

The Rugby Football Union will decide on Wednesday whether to grant London Irish an extra week to complete a takeover.

Irish’s owners have been in protracted talks with an American consortium over the sale of the Premiership side.

A deadline of 30 May had been set by the RFU, otherwise the club risked suspension from the Premiership.

The RFU agreed in principle to an extension on Tuesday, with one condition that the current ownership paid salaries due on Wednesday.

But the situation was complicated on Tuesday evening at a hastily arranged players’ meeting.

There it emerged current owner Mick Crossan was offering to pay 50% of the salaries, rather than the full amount, with the rest due on completion of the takeover.

The RFU’s club finance viability working group will make their recommendation to the RFU board on Wednesday.

While sources close to the takeover insist a deal is close, there remains concern about proof of funds and the exact identity of the prospective new owners.

Crossan, who took over the club in 2013, met last month’s payroll just as players were preparing to hand in breach of contract notices, which would have allowed them to leave the club in the event their wages went unpaid.

On 15 May, the RFU said the timescale had been set to “avoid a scenario where the club enters insolvency mid-season, with the corresponding and substantial impact that has on players, staff and fans, as well as on the remainder of the league”.

The governing body for rugby in England added: “This deadline was set to give enough time for the buyers to provide the information needed and for the transaction to complete.”


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