Widnes Vikings saved after sale to consortium given RFL approval

Joint administrators Peter O’Hara of O’Hara & Co and Chris Brooksbank of O’Haras Limited have today completed the sale of Widnes Vikings to a new company, Widnes Rugby League Club Limited.

Following their appointment on February 22, the joint administrators moved swiftly to secure a sale in order to enable the club to fulfil its fixtures in the Betfred Rugby League Championship, and also to preserve 72 jobs at the club.

The business and assets of the club have been purchased for an undisclosed sum by a privately-owned, Widnes-based consortium of business people.

Nicola Collins of Clarion’s corporate recovery and insolvency team acted for the administrators.

Joint administrator Chris Brooksbank said: “It’s fantastic news that the future of this historic and renowned club has been secured.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has helped to make this possible – the club’s staff who worked without pay for the last week, the fans who have raised over £100,000, the RFL and Halton Borough Council for their support, and, of course, the consortium which now owns the club.

“We hope they have a bright future and a successful season ahead.”

The club this afternoon confirmed that the board of the Rugby Football League granted RFL Membership to the consortium who agreed the deal to take over the club with the administrators earlier this week.

As revealed last night, the names of the people involved in the consortium are Chris Price, Jason Shaw, Roger Harrison MBE, Stuart Murphy, David Dean, Tracey Glendinning, and Rod Steele.

Widnes Vikings said that, with the takeover being granted, they can now confirm that the club will incur a 12-point penalty in the 2019 Betfred Championship season, effective immediately. This means that the club will now sit on -8 points.

After receiving the approval for the consortium takeover, Sunday’s fixture against Featherstone Rovers will go ahead as planned.

In the meantime, three first team players – Adam Tangata, Krisnan Inu and Wellington Albert – have left the club since it fell into administration a week ago.

A club statement this afternoon said that, as a result of the club going into administration, it can also confirm that academy players Sam Walters and Jarrod O’Connor have also left the club to join Leeds Rhinos for undisclosed fees, a decision that was made by the administrators appointed.

The statement said: “Widnes Vikings would like to go on record and thank each player, both first team and Academy, for their service to the club.

“The club can also confirm that first team staff Adam Rowland and Andy Woolfenden, and administrative staff Emmy Holmes and Samantha Croston, have also left the club.

“The Vikings, again, would like to thank all for their efforts during their time at the Halton Stadium.”

Widnes Vikings experienced difficulties having being relegated from the Super League last season, after seven years in the top tier.