London Wasps are facing the real threat of relegation from the Aviva Premiership at the end of this season if they cannot find new investment by the end of the month. According to ESPNScrum.com, the club needs to bring in a long-term backer by the end of this season, or it will fall into administration.
The two-time Heineken Cup champions looked set to survive their financial threat back in February when four parties were allegedly interested in taking over the club from owner Steve Hayes. But two months later, if Wasps do fall into administration then they will be deducted 15 points, which given their current position 8 points above Newcastle at the bottom of the table would see them drop down into the Championship. The financial pressures that would further put on the club with decreased match day and television revenue makes the future even more uncertain.
It has been by all accounts a hellish season for the club, with an absurd injury list and the enforced retirement of key leaders in Tom Rees, Steve Thompson and Joe Worsley. The club’s owner, Hayes, put the club up for sale in July last year, when the project for a new Sports Complex and Stadium in Wycombe was turned down by the local Council. Given that Wasps currently own neither their ground or training facilities, they have no key assets to sell off apart from their squad.
The news of the stalled negotiations with a key investor comes a week after the Metropolitan Police announced that Hayes had been arrested back in February as part of a computer-hacking investigation, and remains a suspect in their inquiries.
London Wasps Chairman Mark Rigby said: “London Wasps has a long and successful history, and is one of the best known brands in the game, and the board is convinced that the right backer exists. With a great squad in place and the excellent Dai Young at the helm, we believe we are set to make a strong impact next season. Time is however short and we urgently need a new investor or consortium to back this belief.”