Jersey forced to sell assets in order to see out the season

Jersey Reds
Jersey finished in sixth place in the Championship last season

Championship side Jersey Reds have been forced to sell their assets for £1.5m in order to see out the season.

The club's St Peter ground, clubhouse and pitches have been sold to "third-party owners" with the club leasing back their assets.

The club has denied reports that it had become "technically insolvent", but say they have incurred "significant losses" since the summer of 2013.

Jersey were an amateur side playing in the seventh tier 11 years ago.

The island side is in its fifth year in the second tier after a rapid rise through English rugby.

The costly rise of an island side
2005: Win first promotion from London South West Division Three
2006: Sign first professional players
2008: Promoted from London South Two
2010: Win National Three London
2011: Promoted out of National Two South
2012: Win National One, sending them into the fully-professional Championship
2016: After five seasons as the Channel Islands' only professional sports team Jersey are forced to sell their ground and assets to survive

"Our focus has been on firmly securing the club's position in the first instance, which then allows us to undertake a full strategic review on the club's future beyond the end of this season as a priority," said chairman Mark Morgan in a statement.

"The investment required to operate a fully professional rugby squad in the English Rugby Championship has necessitated major investment by the club over the last few seasons," Morgan added.

"In addition to the costs of the playing squad itself, satisfying the criteria to play in the Championship in terms of maintaining quality playing surfaces, coaching team, medical facilities, spectator facilities, floodlights and administrative support has required a significant level of commitment."

In September, Morgan told BBC Jersey that RFU funding for Championship clubs, currently at around £530,000, only covered a quarter of their costs.

They are the second club in the second tier to hit financial problems this season, with London Welsh facing a High Court winding-up order.

"The decisions regarding the restructuring were not taken lightly, said Morgan after an extraordinary general meeting on Tuesday night.

"The joint-working group included representatives from all parts of the club and it was recognised that we needed a swift solution that would enable the club to continue operating while options for the longer term are considered."