London Irish have filed for administration following their suspension from all club competitions.
The Rugby Football Union on Tuesday confirmed that neither Irish’s owner Mick Crossan nor the American consortium planning to buy the club were able to prove they had the finances to compete in the Gallagher Premiership for the 2023-24 campaign.
And Crossan has revealed that entering administration was the only choice left after the suspension ended any chance of the prospective takeover going through.
Crossan said: “This decision has ultimately ended any hope of an acquisition of the club and has regrettably forced us to file for administration this morning (Wednesday).
“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.
“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.”
London Irish became the third casualty of the financial crisis gripping the Premiership, which will now become a 10-team competition following the collapses of Wasps and Worcester.
RFU chair Tom Ilube hinted at a reduction in funding for the league due to its “failing business models”, an assessment Crossan hit out at.
“The comments from the RFU chair, Tom Ilube, (on Tuesday night) completely overlook the precarious situation other clubs are currently in,” he added.
“Collectively, owners of clubs are working very hard to transform their models, but real support, at times, is non-existent.
“And it speaks volumes that Ralph Rimmer and Chris Pilling have been appointed by the Government as independent advisers to work on the future stability of rugby union in the UK.
“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.”
Crossan said the club had been hurt by failed “promises” of their prospective buyers, who were not forthcoming with money.
“As we neared the completion of the deal, I continually received promises, from both NUE Equity and Redstrike, that the acquisition would be completed imminently, and that funds would arrive within days,” Crossan claimed.
“Right up to (Tuesday’s) final deadline, we continued to receive verbal assurances from the group.
“I have trusted that these were not hollow promises and agreed to financially support the club throughout to ensure it could finish the season and give the group time to conclude the deal.
“Sadly, the promises have failed to materialise, and, despite our very best efforts, it was not possible to meet the conditions set by the RFU Club Financial Viability Group (on Tuesday afternoon).
“Its subsequent disappointing decision to force our suspension has proved the tipping point where we will not be able to meet our current and future financial obligations.
“And after assessing our options (on Tuesday night), we agreed that administration offered the safest path forward for the club.”