11 April 2012 09:53

LONDON - English Premiership rugby club London Wasps urgently need new investors to avoid being plunged into administration, following the collapse of takeover talks.

The twice Heineken Cup winners had been negotiating with potential backers and expected to clinch a deal imminently, before discussions stalled.

Wasps now need to find alternative investment to avoid administration, and relegation from England's top flight.

"The board is disappointed to confirm that negotiations, which had been leading towards an imminent takeover of the Club, have stalled," the club said in a statement, while insisting London Wasps Holdings Limited remains "a going concern".

The club have been looking for a new owner since last year when support for the construction of a new stadium was withdrawn by their local council. Currently Wasps share Adams Park with Wycombe Wanderers soccer club.

Wasps chairman Mark Rigby called for a new backer to share the club's confidence.

"London Wasps has a long and successful history, and is one of the best known brands in the game," he said. "With a great squad in place and the excellent Dai Young at the helm, we believe we are set to make a strong impact next season.

"Time is however short and we urgently need a new investor or consortium to back this belief."

Rugby Football Union regulations state that any club which remains in administration beyond six weeks will be docked 22 points, which would see Wasps relegated to the second tier of English rugby.

Wasps millionaire owner Steve Hayes was arrested by police investigating computer hacking, and released on bail, the club said last week.

The arrest of the 50-year-old was carried out as part of Operation Tuleta, a strand of London police's investigation into illegal information-gathering which has so far only involved newspapers.

Hayes bought Wasps in 2008, the year former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio led the team to victory in the Premiership final at Twickenham.

The club now sits second from bottom of the Premiership, and visits league leaders Harlequins, whom they have not beaten away from home in five years, on Saturday. (Reuters)