Championship winners, Jersey Reds, have been forced to cease trading with immediate effect following a period of financial uncertainty.
Despite the club performing incredibly well on the field, their state of affairs off the field has not had the same fortunes. The Covid effect has put huge pressure upon a club looking to continue to financially support their professional players and staff, as well as maintain a stadium they bought pre-pandemic.
The club were on a sturdy financial footing pre-pandemic when they were supported with a funding allocation from the RFU of £500,000 per year. Since that time, that figure has since been reduced to just £150,000, making it unsustainable for the club to continue at their current pace.
Reds chairman Mark Morgan said in a club statement: “We had been able to start the season and maintain sufficient funds to cover the summer, but regret that our conversations with potential new investors as well as existing ones have been unsuccessful,”
“At one stage at the end of last season it appeared there was a viable way forward for the second tier once the new Professional Game Agreement was implemented from summer 2024, but Championship clubs have been left in the dark since that point and this led to a growing fatigue among those who may have invested, but could not be given any concrete assurance about when the new structure would come in, or how it would be funded.
“There are a large number of players, coaches and other members of staff who have made huge contributions to the club in recent seasons, and we regret that the massive effect this will have on all of them – it’s a very sad day.”
“It is extremely disappointing that investors would take decisions at this early point in the season to place the club in such a position,” the RFU contributed to the discussion.
“Championship clubs had clear confirmation from the RFU on funding for the 2023-24 season and we have been working with the Championship and Premiership Rugby on the new Professional Game Partnership and shape of Premiership 2 with funding levels to be confirmed at the end of this calendar year.
“The Championship has been fully involved in these discussions since February which are aimed at stabilising and strengthening the professional game.”
Jersey Reds claim that they are now unable to pay players and staff their wages that are due at the end of this month, and that the club will face full liquidation if a new buyer is not found.