Mick Crossan, the London Irish owner, has said that the Gallagher Premiership club will go into administration after the Rugby Football Union confirmed the London club would be suspended this week. After a number of missed salary payments to players and staff, the RFU gave one final ultimatum last week.
England's governing body gave Crossan and the American consortium a week's deadline to prove they had the finances to stabilize the club, but they were unable to do so. They have now become the third club to be ejected from England's top flight after Worcester and Wasps.
Though the club has been suspended, Irish's club statement stated that they were 'hopeful' the suspension could be lifted with positive talks.
"The club can confirm that London Irish has received correspondence from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to confirm suspension for the 2023/24 season," the statement started. "The suspension will result in the club being unable to compete in the Gallagher Premiership, Premiership Rugby Cup, and Heineken Champions Cup throughout the 2023/24 campaign.
"The club continues to remain in active discussions with the RFU as to any circumstances that may result in the suspension being lifted."
London Irish file for administration.
Owner Mick Crossan:
- believed “hollow” promises from the US group up to the end.
- says complications included “unrealistic” RFU demands and Brentford wanting them out.
- says rugby leadership needs urgent review.
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Later the same day, Crossan released his own statement after the news, confirming that administration was never an option that he wanted to consider, but his hand was turned. Crossan then went on to say: "Administration has always been the last resort, and something we hoped we could avoid. And we bitterly regret the difficulties it will present to each and every one of you. My focus is now on working with the appointed administrator, and I hope that the club will come out of administration as quickly as possible."
Crossan added, "As a lifelong fan of London Irish, the club's suspension is bitterly disappointing, and I understand the sadness felt by the thousands of our loyal supporters and the frustrations of our incredible coaches, medical staff, back-office team, and players. But this decision has ultimately ended any hope of an acquisition of the club and has regrettably forced us to file for administration this morning."
The 600-word lengthy statement from Crossan also urged for a radical transformation in English rugby: "The professional game in this country needs to be radically transformed, and the current leadership must urgently review its practices from top to bottom if it has a desire to see professional rugby continue in England. Administration has always been the last resort and something we hoped we could avoid. And we bitterly regret the difficulties it will present to each and every one of you."
To read the full statement, click here.