As of Tuesday morning, the Brentford-based club had failed to complete a US consortium-led takeover first mooted in October, with the RFU not minded to offer any further extensions beyond today’s 4pm deadline.
Exiles owner Mick Crossan was charged with paying the second half of Irish’s May wages by the deadline for the club to stand any chance of survival. Irish also had to provide proof of funds for the full 2023-24 season or complete the protracted takeover — and the west London club’s chiefs had failed to deliver on either front.
The US consortium of ex-NFL and NBA stars has failed to come good on a raft of promises since first engaging Crossan. The Powerday founder has owned Irish since 2013 and oversaw steady growth, culminating in a fifth-place Premiership finish this term.
Crossan has continued to service Irish’s debts that sit beyond the £30million mark, but if the takeover is not completed, Crossan will end up walking away and Irish will fold. They will then become the third Premiership club to fall into adminstration in this bleakest of seasons, after the demise of Worcester and Wasps.
The RFU have prepared a hardship fund to support Irish employees with the greatest need should the club, as expected, go under. The Premiership will operate as a 10-team competition next term if Irish fall out of the league.
The NUE Capital-led consortium, headed by former sports stars such as Ray Lewis and Julius Erving, has battled for months to secure the financial backing required to assume control at Irish. But those endeavours now appear to have fallen short, despite representatives of the group insisting the main parties have been working around the clock to pull off the deal.