Sadness for fans as historic rugby club confirms it will call in the liquidators


One of the country’s oldest rugby clubs is set to be liquidated after officials concluded that the increasingly strained financial position had become “unsustainable.”

London Welsh, a rugby union side which plays in Richmond-upon-Thames, has been grappling with its finances for some time and received a second winding-up petition from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in October of this year.

There had previously been hopes of an investment deal being agreed with a United States-based group, but the club was plunged into fresh uncertainty when the proposal collapsed last month.

The club, which was founded in 1885, had been a Premiership outfit until just a couple of years ago.

However, London Welsh was relegated at the end of the 2014-15 season after an abysmal campaign saw them lose all 22 matches.

While the drop to the second tier of professional rugby came as a blow to supporters, it is the torrid financial situation which has caused most concern in recent months, culminating with the announcement that fans had long feared yesterday.

The team has said it will attempt to fulfil its fixtures for the remainder of the current season.

Chairman Gareth Hawkins said: “Due to a playing budget of £1.7million and gates at games numbering as low 400, the club’s current business model is totally unsustainable. Having to break the news to 40 staff members yesterday was extremely difficult.

“In the New Year, it is the hope and intention of the board that London Welsh will be able to return to playing at Old Deer Park [their old ground].

“However, it will first be necessary to change the club’s business model to a semi-professional set-up and form a new company, and then raise £300,000 so that the club can regain a position within the Championship.”