Rugby

London Welsh escape winding up order

2017-01-23 19:33

London - A judge has dismissed an attempt by British tax authorities to have cash-strapped London Welsh wound up after one of England's most important and historic rugby union clubs went into liquidation.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) had taken legal action to have London Welsh wound up at hearings in the Bankruptcy and Companies Court in London.

But Registrar Nicholas Briggs on Monday dismissed the application after a lawyer for HMRC told him the club had gone into liquidation before Christmas.

An earlier hearing was told the club owed more than £90,000 in tax.

Founded by a group of Welshmen living in London in 1885, London Welsh's greatest days came more than 40 years ago.

They supplied seven players to the victorious 1971 British and Irish Lions squad in New Zealand, a figure that remains a record for the number of players from one club in a Lions squad.

London Welsh greats John Dawes, JPR Williams, Gerald Davies, John Taylor and Mervyn Davies all starred for Wales during their golden era of the 1970s.

But the club, now in English rugby's second-tier Championship, had two disastrous one-season stays in the elite Premiership.

These coincided with an ill-fated three-year spell in Oxford where they moved when their longstanding home of Old Deer Park in Richmond, southwest London -- to which they have since returned -- was deemed unsuitable for professional top-flight English club rugby.

The club hope to reform as a semi-professional side in 2017, playing at their Old Deer Park ground in the London suburb of Richmond where they moved back to in 2015 after three years in Oxford.

In early December, London Welsh chairman Gareth Hawkins said there was "no alternative" to voluntary liquidation.

"London Welsh has reached a difficult point in its illustrious history," said Hawkins in a statement posted on the club's website.

"Due to a playing budget of £1.7million and gates at games numbering as low as 400, the club's current business model is totally unsustainable."

"The debts accrued from trading in this way have left the club with no alternative but to seek liquidation."

Read more on:    london wasps  |  rugby
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