London Irish look set to be granted a short deadline extension by the Rugby Football Union as they try to complete a takeover deal with an American consortium.
Irish had faced the possibility of suspension from the Gallagher Premiership on Wednesday as their hopes of meeting an RFU deadline regarding their finances for next season appeared bleak.
The RFU had set a deadline of close of business on Tuesday for a takeover of the club to be completed and approved by Twickenham chiefs, or the club showing that it will continue to be funded to operate throughout next term.
The RFU said in a statement earlier this month: “If the club fails to meet these conditions, it will be suspended from participating in the Premiership (and other competitions) in season 2023-24 to avoid a scenario where the club enters insolvency mid-season, with the corresponding and substantial impact that has on players, staff and fans, as well as on the remainder of the league.”
The RFU’s club financial viability working group had a meeting scheduled on Tuesday evening before making a recommendation to the RFU board on Wednesday, which would be followed by an official announcement.
It is understood that recommendation is likely to comprise a deadline extension – possibly of a week – although it would be conditional on Irish players’ May salaries being met by the club’s current ownership.
Irish have been in grave danger of becoming the third club after Wasps and Worcester to depart the Premiership this season.
And while that scenario might still unfold, there now appears to be a glimmer of hope for the Exiles, who finished fifth in the Premiership this season under rugby director Declan Kidney.
Wasps must begin rebuilding from the bottom of the league pyramid after the RFU revoked their licence to play in next season’s Championship.
Hopes that new owners HALO22 Limited could relaunch Wasps in the second tier were dashed due to their failure to meet an RFU deadline for proving the club could still operate at the required level.
Four uncapped players in Ireland training squad fo…
Wasps entered administration in December because of debts totalling £95million, and as a result were removed from the Premiership.
And ambitions that Worcester could be relaunched in the Championship ended because of a dispute over terms between their new owners Atlas and the RFU.
It has all added up to the most damaging domestic season in English rugby history, with all eyes now on Irish to see if funding can be put in place for next term.