Cash-strapped London Irish risk not paying players, coaches and staff this week – with fear of financial turmoil continuing to plague the Premiership club – as potential buy-out is delayed
- Players and staff wait anxiously to discover whether they will be paid this week
- Premiership Rugby and the RFU claimed ‘a cash flow solution’ has been found
- The investment – believed to be from the United States – could take some time
London Irish players, coaches and staff are anxiously waiting to discover if they will be paid later this week amid growing fears of financial turmoil, as a buy-out of the club has been delayed.
Sportsmail has learned that Exiles employees are worried about the threat of their monthly wages not being received. It is understood that coaches and players have been seeking assurances, after being made aware of potential trouble.
Last night, Premiership Rugby and the RFU claimed that ‘a cash flow solution’ has been found, to alleviate the danger of the payroll deadline not being met. However, any solution is based on confirmation of new investment — believed to be from the United States — which has been held up for some time.
Well-placed sources say this is not the first time this season that there have been doubts over wages, at a time when owner Mick Crossan has been trying to relinquish control of the club. It is thought that there were similar fears around Christmas, which proved to be unfounded. Employees have been told repeatedly that a buy-out is imminent — but that is yet to take place.
The PRL hierarchy are convinced it will happen ‘soon’, with the spectre of Wasps and Worcester’s financial collapses still looming large over the sport.
London Irish players and staff are anxiously waiting to discover if they will be paid this week
London Irish tycoon Mick Crossan said he was ready to give the club away for nothing last year
Crossan told Sportsmail last September that he was ready to give Irish away for free, having presided over a return to London from Reading, in a ground-share with Brentford. ‘If anyone’s looking to buy a rugby club with its own training ground and perpetual (P) shares then they don’t even have to buy it,’ he said. ‘I’ll give it to them as long as they fund it.’
However, the Exiles are deemed to be at ‘high risk’ of financial difficulties as they have a modest turnover and a substantial amount of debt. On the field, they are going well, with Declan Kidney’s side up to fourth in the league.
Irish also have a thriving academy, with graduates including England wings Henry Arundell and Leicester-bound Ollie Hassell-Collins, plus Will Joseph and Tom Pearson.
Meanwhile, former England full back Mike Brown has voiced his support for central contracts to stop the exodus of players to France.
Declan Kidney’s Exiles side sit fourth in the Premiership – behind Saracens, Sale and Leicester
Several England internationals are moving across the Channel after the World Cup, with Anthony Watson in talks to join them.
With Premiership clubs being financially out- muscled due to budget and salary-cap constraints, the RFU have been urged to intervene.
On the day he signed a contract extension with Leicester until the end of the year, Brown said: ‘It takes those at the top to be aligned and to be creative. Central contracts could be a good idea, taking the pressure off clubs financially. Hopefully, in the future, we won’t see players having to go abroad through lack of jobs or financial pull.’
Saracens are optimistic over skipper Owen Farrell (left), who limped off after appearing to roll his ankle during the win over Harlequins last Saturday. Sources have indicated his condition is ‘not serious’ and any lay-off will be ‘very short-term’.
Source: Read Full Article