Wasps will be given every opportunity to secure their long-term survival in the wake of entering administration, according to Rugby Football Union chairman Tom Ilube.
The Coventry-based club are facing relegation from the Gallagher Premiership after their entire playing and coaching staff were made redundant on Monday among 167 job losses.
Administrators FRP are seeking new buyers but the PA news agency understands they encountered a significant setback on Monday night when Terminum Capital withdrew its interest.
They were seen as serious and credible buyers and were introduced to the RFU and Premiership Rugby last week, only to be put off when told Wasps’ P share would not be included in the purchase.
P shares were allocated to 13 clubs in 2005, giving them access to central funding and voting rights on issues relating to the league, and are viewed as a vital part of any deal by investors.
A successful takeover would see Wasps’ suspension from the Premiership lifted, enabling them to play again this season, but time is not on their side amid concerns that too many cancelled fixtures would distort the integrity of the league.
In a statement, the RFU revealed that it is speaking daily with FRP and Premiership Rugby to “understand whether there is any possibility of a buyer taking over the club”.
Ilube said: “The news Wasps are now in administration is desperately sad.
“We believe it is right to keep working with all parties to give the club the best chance of long-term survival if at all possible.
“We all feel for the fans, players, volunteers and everyone with a connection to the club.
“The importance of financially robust and transparent professional leagues has never been more apparent and we will continue our work with Premiership Rugby to improve the structure, governance and business model of rugby union in England.”
Wasps were hit by a winding-up order from HM Revenue and Customs for £2million in unpaid tax while needing to repay a £35m bond which had helped finance the club’s relocation to Coventry in 2014.
Andrew Sheridan of FRP admits the outlook is bleak as a buyer must be found urgently.
“They can happen quickly and they need to happen quickly, because for Wasps to have any prospect of staying in the Gallagher Premiership this year, it’s something that would have to happen remarkably quickly,” Sheridan told BBC 5Live’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast.
“I just don’t think the people who run the competition will allow them to delay more fixtures. Realistically, is that a possibility? While all things are possible, I think that’s a tough ask.”
Wasps Women have confirmed that they will continue to take part in the Allianz Premier 15s as while aligned with Wasps, they are a separate entity whose registration is held by the RFU.