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London Irish Owner pays overdue wages

The players of London Irish have had their wages for April paid, by owner Mick Crossan, just minutes before a deadline where they were due to submit a notice for breach of contract

Players and staff should have been paid last Friday, but were still waiting for their salaries on Thursday afternoon.

On the advice of the Rugby Players' Association, the Exiles squad set a deadline of 17:00 BST on Thursday.

Crossan, who is in protracted talks to sell the club, has covered the wages, averting further chaos.

The breach-of-contract notices would have meant players were free to leave the west London-based club if wages were not received within 14 days.

It means Saturday's Premiership match with Exeter Chiefs can proceed as planned, with Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney praising the attitude of the club's staff in the difficult circumstances.

"The whole organisation of 130 people that work here are fantastic people to work with," Kidney said on Thursday morning.

"I can't speak highly enough of the quality of players, in terms of their application and positivity. Everybody is getting on with the job and preparations are in full swing."

The latest development gives further time for the takeover to go through, with an American consortium in negotiations to buy the club.

However, the late payment of salaries has drawn comparisons with Worcester and Wasps, who both went out of business earlier this season.

Kidney admitted "there are concerns" about the situation but the club has been given "a lot of assurances" by its prospective new owners.

"I think you can draw too many comparisons between us and other teams, and I think it would be wrong to do that," Kidney added.

"It's unfortunate but we trust the owners and prospective owners will come to a positive resolution for everybody involved here."

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