Widnes Vikings confirm appointment of administrators

Widnes Vikings confirmed that administrators will be appointed to the club today – and that police are investigating threats made against members of the board and their families.

The rugby league side said it was left with no option but to appoint administrators after a potential takeover deal collapsed earlier this week.

A board statement released this afternoon said: “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 statement added: “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 statement then stated: “Members of the board have received sinister threats, as well as threats to their property and families. These threats will not be tolerated and have been passed on to the Police for review.”

The club will suffer a 12-point deduction for going into administration, having been relegated from Super League last season following seven years in the top tier.

Facing the media this afternoon, Peter O’Hara said: “The club has simply run out of money.

“We have secured the wages for players this month, but other than that there are no funds whatsoever.”

He said the administrators’ task is now to find new funding as quickly as possible.

“Our job hopefully is to preserve what’s left. Whether we can do that I’m not certain, it all depends on potential investors in the club.”

Earlier this week Widnes cancelled their Sunday home game with Sheffield.

Mr O’Hara said: “You’ll know by now that the game on Sunday has been postponed. It was our intention to play that game, but it broke down basically to do with insurance.

“The reality is that unless some investors are found this week, the club will be in the same position again next week, unable to play, because there’s no insurance.

“Unless the club can find investors and find them quickly, it will go into liquidation and that will be the end of Widnes, which nobody wants.”

It is understood that the Vikings have been given seven days beyond the end of this month to secure fees for any players that rival clubs might want, although the administrators insisted they are “not here to asset strip in any, shape or form”, and that no formal approaches have yet been made.