London Irish say players will be paid

Image above: London Irish badges

Rugby Football Union has confidence the club will pay staff and players

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has confirmed that London Irish will meet this month’s payroll, after a number of news outlets claimed the Club’s financial woes meant players and staff would not get paid.

London Irish owner Mick Crossan has been seeking fresh investment throughout the season and a US consortium is reportedly close to reaching an agreement with the Club.

A potential takeover by US investors still needs to be approved by the Club’s governing body. The club has debts exceeding £30m, and time is of the essence for a deal to be completed.

Premiership Rugby is said to be doing everything it can to avoid another club going bust. Although there is optimism that the US-backed investment will succeed, the situation has been dragging on since last year.

The RFU will need to conduct strict due diligence on any takeover after being criticised by MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in its hearing on the demise of Wasps and Worcester. The RFU’s Chief Executive, Bill Sweeney, was accused of being “asleep on the job”, and Premiership Rugby’s Simon Massie-Taylor was blamed for “failure on an epic scale”.

Image above: a London Irish match in Brentford Stadium 

London Irish staff were reportedly actively seeking new jobs in October

To be given the green light, the investors would have to pass the RFU’s fit and proper owners test and provide proof of funds.

Worcester’s new owners failed to meet the RFU’s conditions for entry into the Championship last month, demonstrating the rigour of the process. It is also the responsibility of the RFU to suspend any club that cannot meet its financial commitments, as was the case with Wasps and Worcester, who were both subsequently permanently removed from the Premiership.

Despite mounting financial concerns, London Irish has risen to fourth place in the Premiership and currently occupies the final playoff position. They have several young English players, which makes them an attractive proposition for potential investors.

In October London Irish staff members were reported to be actively seeking new jobs because of the club’s financial concerns. Fears about their financial situation have persisted throughout the season. In a statement The Club said:

“It has been public knowledge that the club is exploring its options with regards to investment. However, no comment will be made until there is anything to announce. In regards to recent media reports, London Irish can categorically confirm that all staff will be paid this month. Anything reported to the contrary is pure speculation.”

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