London’s Irish problems worsened on Friday when HM Revenue and Customs filed for bankruptcy over an unpaid tax bill.
The case began on Friday when complaints were filed in the High Court against London Irish Holdings Limited and London Irish Rugby Football Ground Limited.
The development came on the day the government appointed independent advisors to help rugby union bosses in their attempt to save the future of the professional game after last season’s failures at Worcester and Wasps.
The Irish are at risk of being banned from the Gallagher Premiership unless the takeover is complete or they can show by 4pm on June 6 that they have the funds to play for the full 2023/24 season operate.
HMRC declined to comment on the matter, but a spokesman told the PA news agency: “We take a supportive approach to dealing with clients who have tax debts and, to protect themselves, do not file for winding-up until we have exhausted all other avenues.” have.” Taxpayers’ money.”
The club were given a week-long extension by Rugby Football Union on Wednesday to prove they have a future and have been ordered to ensure May’s payroll has been paid in full for all staff and players after confirming that only 50 percent were paid had been received.
An American consortium is currently negotiating the takeover of the Exiles, who owe in the region of £30m but have yet to provide the RFU with proof of financing or other documentation required for the purchase to be approved.
The club’s plight highlights the difficulties clubs are currently facing in the post-Covid era, which has led to government intervention.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has appointed former Rugby Football League CEO Ralph Rimmer and UK Sport’s Chris Pilling to support Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby Limited in their efforts to shape the “future strategic financial and sporting… Alignment” of the game to redesign.
A DCMS statement said: “The troubles at Worcester, Wasps and London Irish have highlighted the challenges facing the sport of rugby union.
“Rugby clubs’ inability to raise capital investments and financial challenges at various levels of the game have contributed to the urgent need for action to secure the immediate future of rugby union and advice on its future direction.”
The Government has stepped in during the Covid-19 pandemic to support rugby at elite and grassroots level, but many clubs are still struggling with the impact.
Sport Minister Stuart Andrew added: “This is a challenging time for rugby union and Ralph and Chris have agreed to use their experience to help the game chart a clear path for the future.”
“We have seen several top-flight clubs and their supporters devastated in recent times and this additional independent advice will be of great benefit to the RFU and PRL as they look to implement a new strategic direction for rugby.”
Welcoming the government’s continued support, Bill Sweeney, CEO of the RFU, urged all stakeholders to put “self-interest” aside in the quest for a sustainable future.
He said: “The restructuring of the pro gaming contract into a strategic partnership presents a great opportunity for all parties involved to put self-interest aside and work together to reshape and secure the future long-term and sustainable growth of pro gaming, including the development of the best possible second tier. “