London Irish in advanced talks over takeover and eye 2025 return to Championship

London Irish in advanced talks over takeover and eye 2025 return to Championship
London Irish in advanced talks over takeover and eye 2025 return to Championship

London Irish are in advanced talks over a takeover that would revive the professional club.

The club have been in administration since June 2023 but German investor Daniel Thomas Loitz, who heads up private investment holding company Hokulani Ltd, has been in negotiations to save them for several months.

A final agreement has not yet been reached but Telegraph Sport understands a deal is now closer than ever. A large number of separate creditors would have to sign off on any deal, but Loitz is hopeful that London Irish could be competing in the Championship, English rugby’s second tier, in time for the 2025-26 season.

Speaking exclusively to Telegraph Sport, Loitz said: “London Irish is a wonderful brand and has so much history. I do not want to strive for idiotic things like immediate silverware, but I want to focus on the community, engaging with the fans and having an identity at the club.

Daniel Thomas Loitz - German investor poised to bring London Irish back as a professional club
The move is part of Daniel Thomas Loitz's vision to support English rugby

“For example, I believe it’s necessary that we concentrate on producing players for the English youth national teams and mould players for the future. That’s good for the English game, it’s good for English rugby.

“We also want to make sure we have a great relationship with London Irish’s amateur club, and to have a pathway together where we can bring through talent.”

London Irish filed for administration last June following their suspension by the Rugby Football Union from all leagues for failing to provide proof of funds and ownership for the 2023-24 season.

Asked how soon London Irish could be competing again, Loitz added: “The most realistic version of it would be 2025-26, because at this point there are so many parties involved in order to bring back Championship rugby with the London Irish brand, and I really understand that it’s reasonable for the RFU to never want to lose a brand like that again, because it would not look good. So we have to follow a process first, which I completely understand.

“I want to give credit to the RFU and the administrators from the Resolve Group and to Mick Crossan, who has said he wants the club to be in good hands. For them, it’s not about the money – credit to all of them – instead it has been about the vision for the club.”

Loitz also says he wants the club to resume training at Hazelwood, the 63-acre training ground in Sunbury-on-Thames, which was the team’s base prior to them going under in the summer of 2023.

Hokulani Ltd already owns several women’s football clubs around the world, including Halifax, who play in the Women’s National League Northern Premier Division, the third tier of English football.

In December, Hokulani purchased the franchise rights to one of the new women’s football clubs that will play in Canada’s “Project 8” competition, a new, fully professional women’s league launching in 2025. That deal will involve building a club from scratch.

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