London Irish RFC faces HMRC winding-up petition over unpaid tax bill

London Irish Rugby Football Club face multiple winding-up petitions over an unsettled tax bill. On 2 June 2023 HMRC initiated insolvency proceedings against:

  • London Irish Holdings Limited (Case No. CR-2023-002900)
  • London Irish Rugby Football Ground Limited (Case No. CR-2023-002901)
  • London Irish Scottish Richmond Limited (Case No. CR-2023-002899)

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has granted a short extension for a proposed takeover, with a Tuesday 6 June deadline. The prospective new owners could be responsible for settling the tax bill and fulfilling outstanding salaries.

UPDATE: On 6 June 2023 the following administration applications were filed at court:

  • CR-2023-002962 London Irish Scottish Richmond Limited Companies – Application – Notice of Appointment to appoint an administrator 07-06-2023
  • CR-2023-002963 LONDON IRISH HOLDINGS LIMITED Companies – Application – Notice of Appointment to appoint an administrator 07-06-2023

Need a second opinion on your insolvency litigation? Our specialist solicitors & barristers can help by assessing your case prospects and whether a winding-up petition is the right tool. We have highly experienced dual-qualified lawyers, so if our view is your case has limited merit or high risk we can advise you of the best strategy in our first meeting. Give us a call on 02071830529 for expert winding-up law advice.

Club’s imminent exit from the English League System

London Irish is facing an increasingly precarious financial situation as they have received three winding-up petitions from HMRC, the tax authority of the UK government. These petitions, directed at London Irish Holdings Ltd and two other related companies, further escalate the likelihood of the club’s financial downfall before the Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) deadline of June 6.

In an effort to alleviate some immediate financial strain, players and staff were paid half of their May salaries, with the assurance that the remaining amount would be compensated. The RFU emphasized the finality of the June 6 deadline at 4pm GMT and specified that the club must fulfill its contractual obligations by paying the full salaries for May.

This escalating crisis raises concerns about Irish becoming the third Premiership club to fold during an exceptionally challenging professional-era season, following Worcester and Wasps. Despite the bid from a US consortium to take over the club, they have failed to provide essential funding details to the RFU, despite the initial proposal being introduced in October.

The prospective owners’ representatives have claimed to have worked tirelessly for weeks to finalise the deal, but the lack of specific information has eroded confidence among the players and staff at London Irish. Mick Crossan, a waste management magnate who acquired the club in 2013 and rejuvenated it, risks leaving a tarnished legacy if the club ultimately folds.

HMRC refrained from commenting on the specific case but stated that they adopt a supportive approach towards customers with tax debts and resort to winding-up petitions only after exhausting all other options in order to safeguard taxpayers’ money.

Winding-Up Petitions: A Nuclear Legal Measure

Winding-up petitions serve as a legal mechanism used to initiate the forced liquidation of a company that is indifferent for example that can’t pay its debts as they fall due. This formal procedure can have significant consequences for businesses, leading to the dissolution and distribution of assets to creditors.

Our companies court advocates understand the complexities and potential ramifications of winding-up petitions for UK SME businesses. Our experienced team of lawyers is dedicated to assisting clients in both opposing and issuing winding-up petitions. When facing a winding-up petition, we provide comprehensive legal support to help clients build a strong defense, ensuring that their interests are protected. We thoroughly analyse the grounds for opposing the petition, conduct in-depth research, and develop compelling arguments to challenge its validity.

On the other hand, if you wish to issue a winding-up petition against a debtor, we can guide you through the entire process, offering strategic advice and ensuring all legal requirements are met. With our expertise in business law and extensive knowledge of winding-up petition procedures, we strive to achieve favorable outcomes for our clients while safeguarding their business interests.

Impact of Winding-Up Petitions

Winding-up petitions have far-reaching implications for debt-struck businesses. Once initiated, these petitions can trigger a series of events that may lead to the dissolution of the company, liquidation of assets, and distribution of proceeds to creditors. The impact extends beyond financial losses, affecting employees, stakeholders, and the overall reputation of the business. Understanding the consequences is vital for businesses navigating these challenging circumstances.

Legal Considerations if facing Winding-Up Petition

Businesses facing winding-up petitions require strategic legal considerations to mitigate the potential consequences. Key areas to focus on include:

  • Evaluating the petition’s validity: Seeking legal advice to assess the validity of the winding-up petition and explore any potential defenses or grounds for challenging its legitimacy.
  • Debt negotiation and settlement: Engaging in constructive dialogue with creditors to negotiate repayment plans, debt restructuring, or alternative solutions to resolve outstanding payments.
  • Insolvency proceedings: Understanding the implications of insolvency processes, such as administration or voluntary liquidation, and seeking professional guidance to determine the most suitable course of action for the business.
  • Legal representation: Retaining experienced legal counsel who can provide guidance throughout the legal proceedings, navigate the complexities of winding-up petitions, and protect the interests of the business.

Strategies for Managing and Resolving Debt-Related Challenges

Businesses facing financial challenges and potential winding-up petitions can benefit from implementing effective strategies to manage and resolve debt-related issues. Consider the following approaches:

  • Financial assessment and planning: Conducting a thorough financial assessment to identify the root causes of the debt and developing a realistic plan to address outstanding obligations.
  • Cash flow management: Implementing robust cash flow management practices to optimise revenue, reduce expenses, and ensure timely payment of debts.
  • Negotiation and dispute resolution: Engaging in constructive negotiations with creditors, suppliers, or other relevant parties to resolve disputes, renegotiate terms, or explore mutually beneficial agreements.
  • Restructuring and refinancing: Exploring options for debt restructuring, refinancing, or seeking additional funding to alleviate financial strain and enhance the business’s long-term viability.

Need Help Opposing a Winding Up Petition?

Our specialist winding-up petition lawyers are experts in defending winding-up petitions. We can advise you as to the specific merits and demerits of your case and can assist you in opposing winding up petitions and negotiating with creditors. If your company has been issued a winding-up petition or statutory demand, you may be able to challenge that petition and should seek legal advice. Companies are entitled to appear at the petition hearing by way of a Director to oppose the making of a winding-up order however it is usual to instruct solicitors and barristers to appear on their behalf at the hearing.

To oppose a winding-up petition, a Company will usually also need to file a witness statement in opposition with the Court within five business days before the date when the petition will be heard by the Court (rule 7.16 of the Insolvency (England and Wales) Rules 2016). A copy of that witness statement will need to be provided to the petitioning creditor at least five business days before the hearing. We are experts in successfully dealing with winding-up petition cases.

Check Your Insolvency Case ✔

We analyse your winding-up petition prospects. We deliver strategic legal advice at your first meeting. We get optimal legal results. Want a first or second opinion on your case? Click below or call our lawyers in London on ☎ 02071830529


The information on this website is not legal advice; you should always obtain specific advice on the circumstances of your case. Our Winding-up Petition Solicitors & Barristers provide specialist legal advice based on decades of expertise. Click here or call +442071830529 to get in touch. For regulatory reasons we do not take on low value cases nor provide free legal advice, information or guidance and our team cannot answer questions from non-clients.

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