A CONSORTIUM has launched a £3.5 million takeover bid to buy London Irish RFC, according to reports.

The Daily Telegraph today claims a group of Irish businessmen held talks with Exiles representatives before Christmas.

The newspaper says the group are ready to pump fresh investment into the club which is believed to be losing around £2.5m each year.

The proposal would also see London Irish leave the Madejski Stadium to groundshare with Brentford FC when their new ground is completed in west London.

Irish also face the prospect of suffering another major financial hit should they be relegated from the Aviva Premiership this season.

Nick Kennedy’s Exiles are currently bottom of the table and nine points adrift of Worcester Warriors having won just one of their 13 top-flight games this campaign.

London Irish released a statement confirming they are weighing up a number of investment offers.

Majority shareholder Mick Crossan, who currently owns 70% of the club, said: “This year London Irish is 120 years old and I want to make sure that the club is secure for the next 120 years.

“I am very much on board with the club for the long-term but we have been speaking to a number of investors about joining the current shareholders to help the club develop to the next level to become a real contender in the Aviva Premiership.

“The process is in the early stages but as you would expect with a club that has such a rich history, passionate supporter base and strong credentials, we have received a number of investment enquiries.

"However, London Irish will only entertain working with investors that offer long-term security and share the same passion for the club that the existing shareholders have.

“I am aware of the approach discussed in a recent article in The Telegraph and can confirm that we have not accepted any offers of investment to date."

Crossan also confirmed Irish are exploring the idea of moving back to London.

They are contracted to play at Madejski Stadium until the end of the 2025/26 but could excercise a release clause to enable them to set up home at Brentford's proposed 20,000-seater stadium which has been approved by Hounslow Borough Council.

Reading Chronicle:

A computer-generated image of Brentford's proposed new stadium.

“These are exciting times for London Irish as we consider our options for moving back to London so it is no surprise that we have received a lot of positive interest in investing in the club but we need to make sure that any investor who joins us has the best interests of the club at heart," added Crossan.

Exiles chief executive Brian Facer, chief executive London Irish stated: “Our prime focus is currently on the Aviva Premiership and we are backing Nick and his team to secure the club’s survival in the league over the coming months.

“We have shown that we can compete against the country’s best teams with close results against some of the top Aviva Premiership teams over the last two months.

“The spirit across the squad and the whole club is very committed and with the backing of our fantastic supporters, we know that this can translate into wins.

“The future of the club is also very strong with five London Irish senior academy players being selected for the England under 20 squad.”