Widnes Vikings face uncertain future after entering administration
Last Updated: 24/02/19 11:45am
Championship team Widnes Vikings have gone into administration and could go into liquidation if fresh investment does not materialise.
The Vikings, who were relegated from Super League at the end of last season, had pinned their survival hopes on securing fresh investment but a takeover bid collapsed earlier this week.
Sunday's game against Sheffield Eagles was postponed on Thursday and administrator Peter O'Hara says there is a genuine possibility that the team may not play another game.
A statement from the Widnes board said on Friday: "Following the last-minute collapse earlier this week of the proposed consortium that had been set to take ownership of Widnes Vikings and provide the necessary financial investment into the club, the Board of Widnes Vikings has been seeking specialist legal advice.
"The Board has been advised that there is no realistic option available to the club, other than to appoint an Administrator as a priority to help secure the long-term future of Widnes Vikings.
"It can, therefore, be confirmed that Peter O'Hara and Chris Brooksbank of O'Haras will be appointed today.
"The board wish to convey their sadness and disappointment at this course of action but, having made extensive efforts in recent months to find investment opportunities, we have been unable to avoid this situation.
"The administrators have extensive experience in supporting businesses with the same challenges faced by Widnes Vikings and have a strong understanding of Rugby League.
"We believe that they are the right appointment for the club and sincerely wish them success in their endeavours.
"We wish the very best for Widnes Vikings, its players, staff, supporters and partners, and hope that this matter can be positively resolved soon for all parties."
The club also revealed that board members have received death threats, as well as threats to their property and families, which have been passed on to the police.
Administrator O'Hara, who fronted a press conference at the Halton Stadium on Friday, said the situation at Widnes was drastic, with under £1,000 in the bank, and a 12-point deduction hanging over the team for breaching Rugby Football League insolvency regulations.
He said: "Unless a deal is found by the end of next week, it will be difficult for the club to play another game.
"Looking at it realistically, with the 12-point deduction, the rest of the season is about hanging in there and building for the future.
"The future of the club is through the academy and not the established players.
"We're not here to asset strip in any shape or form, but there may well be an instance where players have to be sold.
"We want to keep that to a minimum but that has to be an option."
Widnes are one of the original 22 clubs that broke away from the Rugby Football Union in 1985 to form the Northern Union, which went on to become the Rugby Football League.
The club were dubbed the 'Cup Kings' after reaching Wembley seven times in 10 years from 1975 to 1984 - and in 1989 were crowned world club champions after beating Canberra Raiders 30-18 at Old Trafford.