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    06 June 2023

    London Irish faces suspension from Premiership due to financial issues and incomplete takeover deal

    London Irish Suspended From Premiership After Missing Payment Deadline

    The London Irish rugby union team has been suspended from the Premiership after failing to meet a deadline to pay their players and staff. The club was given until Tuesday to complete a takeover or face suspension, but no takeover materialized, leading to the decision by the Rugby Football Union (RFU).

    US Consortium’s Attempt To Buy Club Fails

    A US consortium had been trying to buy London Irish, which finished fifth in the 2022-23 season of the Premiership. However, despite plans announced in 2021 to expand the league to 14 teams, English rugby could now see only ten teams competing next season following the demise of Worcester Warriors and Wasps.

    Possible Reduced Salary Cap And A Smaller League Next Season?

    The possibility of a reduced salary cap for players has also been discussed as clubs seek ways to deal with financial pressures amid pandemic-related challenges. Andrea Pinchen, CEO of Leicester Tigers stated that there were discussions halfway through last season regarding this matter.

    The RFU said that suspending London Irish would provide certainty for other clubs as it is imperative that transparent evidence of funding be presented before they can compete. Chief executive Bill Sweeney expressed his disappointment at what he called “desperately sad news” and noted how important it is for all those involved with London Irish Rugby Club.

    Lots Of Issues Off The Field For London Irish

    This comes after rumblings about issues off-field have plagued the club since April when owner Mick Crossan stepped in just minutes before salaries were due as overdue wages had not been paid. Crossan was in protracted talks to sell the club to a US-based consortium, but nothing materialized.

    London Irish has debts of around £30m and were given until 16:00 BST on Tuesday to prove that they can operate for the entire 2023-24 season. They also needed to ensure all staff and players were paid in full for May after only receiving 50% of their payment.

    Winding-Up Petition Filed Against London Irish

    Last week, HM Revenue & Customs served a winding-up petition against London Irish Holdings Ltd and London Irish Rugby Football Ground Ltd over an unpaid tax bill, further exacerbating financial challenges at the club.

    The UK government appointed independent advisers recently after Worcester Warriors and Wasps went into administration within 21 days last autumn before being expelled from Premiership rugby league. The news will come as yet another blow to English rugby union as it seeks ways to deal with pandemic-related financial pressures amid rumors of more clubs facing similar difficulties ahead of next season’s campaign.

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