London Irish: Premiership club handed May 30 deadline or risk suspension

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

London Irish will suspended from next season’s Gallagher Premiership unless the current or prospective owners can satisfy RFU demands by May 30.

The RFU has confirmed the hard deadline for Irish’s takeover to be completed, or proof of funds for the 2023/24 season to be delivered to the English game chiefs.

A consortium of former NFL and NBA stars remain locked in talks to buy Irish from owner Crossan, and sources close to the group insist the deal will go ahead on schedule.

But figures at the top of the English game continue to harbour major concerns about the deal, with the end of the month now a definitive end point for a takeover that has been mooted all season.

The RFU, Premiership Rugby bosses and the Rugby Players Association have all been leaning on Irish’s current regime and the hopeful owners to be forthcoming – and fast – with details on their deal.

Irish’s players and staff were paid six days late for their April wages, with current owner Crossan stepping in to fulfil his obligation at the 11th hour after the squad threatened to submit breach-of-contract notices.

“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,” read an RFU statement.

“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.

“It is imperative that the club will be in a position to take its place in the Gallagher Premiership in season 2023/24, and to complete that season.

“The RFU has therefore set a deadline of May 30 by which either a takeover of the club has been completed and approved by the RFU, or the club evidences that it will continue to be funded to operate throughout the 2023/24 season.

“If the club fails to meet these conditions it will be suspended from participating in the Premiership and other competitions in season 2023/24 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.

“This deadline was set to give enough time for the buyers to provide the information needed and for the transaction to complete.”