London Irish file for administration after suspension from Premiership

London Irish will not be allowed to play in any league next season
London Irish will not be allowed to play in any league next season
©Steve Haag

Following their failure to meet the deadline for payment to players and staff, London Irish have been suspended from the Premiership and have also filed for administration.

The club was given until Tuesday to finalize a takeover deal, but since it did not materialize, they will not be permitted to participate in any league matches in the upcoming season.

An American consortium had been in discussions to acquire the club, which achieved a fifth-place finish in the 2022-23 Premiership campaign. However, according to a statement from the Rugby Football Union (RFU), the takeover did not come to fruition.

And on Wednesday, owner Mick Crossan said administration had "always been the last resort" but was now the "safest path forward".

"We bitterly regret the difficulties it will present to each and every one of you," he said. "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."

"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," he said.

"This decision has ultimately ended any hope of an acquisition of the club and has regrettably forced us to file for administration."

This development puts English rugby in a position where the Premiership may consist of only 10 teams next season, following the earlier demise of Worcester Warriors and Wasps. Plans to expand the top division to 14 teams, which were announced in 2021, appear to be in question.

"This is desperately sad news for everyone who is part of the London Irish community as well as all the players, fans, staff and volunteers for whom this club means so much," said RFU Chief Executive Bill Sweeney.

"To achieve this, it was imperative that transparent evidence of funding be presented to us.

"This would have been either by the proposed buyers undertaking to provide all required working capital to meet the club's obligations for at least the 2023-24 season; or the club providing evidence that it would continue to fund its operations throughout the 2023-24 season.

"Despite requesting this evidence over the last six months and receiving assurances on multiple occasions that we would receive proof of ownership and funds; it has not materialised."