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London Irish statement: Merger speculation

By Ian Cameron
Press Association

London Irish have issued an angry statement denying reports that the club is set to merge with stricken Gallagher Premiership rivals Wasps.


Wasps were hit by a winding-up order from HM Revenue and Customs for £2 million in unpaid tax, and they also face having to repay a £35m bond which had helped finance the club’s relocation to Coventry during 2014.

There have been rumours and reports flying this weekend, namely that Wasps could be heading back to London and that they could be set to merge with the Brentford-based London Irish.

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Those reports are totally false, according to the Exiles.

The statement reads: “The board of directors of London Irish has today dismissed as “total and utter speculation” the press reports alleging that the Club is exploring a merger with Wasps, who have been suspended from the Gallagher Premiership and face relegation if, as expected, they go into administration.

“London Irish principal shareholder, Mick Crossan, recently confirmed that he would relinquish his shares in London Irish to new owners that would be prepared to guarantee the security of the Club going forward.”

Wasps, like Worcester, have been suspended from the Gallagher Premiership, following fellow crisis club Worcester in seeing their season put on hold.



Over the weekend Wasps legend Lawrence Dallaglio spoke of his grief at the apparent demise of his club.

“You would have noticed I am not great company to be around at the minute,” said Dallaglio, who is on the Wasps board of directors. “There is a lot of pain inside my heart. Putting the blame game to one side, why Wasps are here and who is responsible for that, from an emotional level it is painful. It’s heartbreaking really.

“I was at the club for 18 years and it’s more than a rugby club for me. It arrived in my life and it completely transformed my life. I think I speak on behalf of all Wasps fans, it’s a dark few weeks and there is a lot of pain and sorrow and emotion and I’m grieving right now. I don’t think it reflects well on anyone, on Wasps, on rugby in general, the state of English rugby at the minute.”


additional reporting PA


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