Angry London Irish players and staff will continue to demand answers as to why they are unemployed after the club were banned from the Gallagher Premiership.
Staff today grappled with the sinking of the Exiles, with a catalog of questions for owner Mick Crossan and the US consortium centered on a failed takeover bid.
The Irish were kicked out of the English league structure last night after failing to meet a final RFU deadline to demonstrate financial robustness for the 2023/24 season.
Off-field staff spent yesterday at the Exiles’ Hazelwood Training Center counting down the hours and minutes to the RFU deadline, only to realize there would be no dramatic rescue.
Players and coaches, along with Sunbury training ground staff, logged onto a Zoom call at teatime for a succinct explanation that the Exiles had not found a way to fund the new season.
Squad members in particular are said to have been frustrated and upset at the lack of detailed explanations as to why the Exiles are now facing impeachment.
Managing Director Adrian Alli was among those tasked with breaking the news that a club with a 124-year history had gone bankrupt.
Crossan did not step in to prove the RFU’s funding for the coming season and that meant Irish became the third Premiership club to be eliminated this season, after Worcester and Wasps.
Irish’s 100 players and staff will now start job hunting in earnest, but do so with the nagging question of how the October takeover dragged on for nearly eight months with little progress.
The NUE Capital-led US consortium, which had promised to change Ireland’s fortunes for the better, ultimately unwittingly helped bring the club to their knees.
The ex-NFL and NBA stars involved in the project were never tasked with providing the funding, but rather with providing star power and investment connections. However, when the absolute crisis hit, all the promises made by the consortium representatives of “institutional funding” vanished into thin air.
The consortium never provided the RFU with specific details on the composition of the takeover staff or the source of funding.
Former Premiership Rugby chief executive Howard Thomas and California lawyer Alfred ‘Chip’ Sloan have faced a barrage of questions over their failure to secure the Irish takeover after joining the US consortium.
Spokespersons for the company NUE Capital had insisted for weeks that the deal to buy Irish was being worked on “around the clock”. But the structure of the deal and the consortium has always been a mystery.
“People are still in shock and can’t understand how so many people have had such high hopes for a deal for so long that now feels like it never really came that close,” said a source close to the Ireland players team.
The Exiles are more than £30million in the red and unless Crossan – who bought the club in 2013 – does not write off the debt they will now give up. The Irish players, who were still owed 50 percent of May’s salary, are now free agents.
Bath are expected to sign for winger Henry Arundell and forward Tom Pearson in the back row. Northampton have expressed an interest in Exiles captain Matt Rogerson while support player Oliver Hoskins has scope for a new contract in England.
Crossan, Thomas and other representatives of the US consortium have all been contacted for comment.
https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/rugby/london-irish-failed-takeover-crossan-b1086150.html London Irish: Owner Mick Crossan takes spotlight as angry players and staff seek answers about failed takeover