BIRMINGHAM and Solihull Rugby Club last night held a last ditch meeting of club members to save the Bees from closure.
The club owes the taxman £93,000 and is coming to collect it on October 7.
Failure to pay could see the club go into administration and lose its status among the top 24 professional rugby clubs in the country.
However club chairman Brian Marshall said there was room for hope, if they could buy time from the Inland Revenue.
“I’m hoping common sense will prevail and the taxman will realise that it’s better to get all of the money spread over a period of time rather than lose it all in one go,” he said, just hours before the make or break meeting.
The club was dealt a bitter blow when Solihull’s planning committee rejected its scheme to turn the club’s Sharmans Cross Road HQ over to housing, which would have provided the money to pay off its debts as it moved into a ground share with local football club Solihull Moors at Damson Park.
An appeal has already been launched against that decision - taken due to the lack of social housing in the original plan.
Other options include disposal of the club’s Portway training centre by junction three of the M42 which has been valued in the region of £1.4 million to one of Birmingham’s new universities, and a further appeal to the Rugby Football Union, an overture largely rejected on Tuesday.
“I do not know why Solihull Council chose not to support us when they are need to increase the sporting provision and funding in the borough,” said Mr Marshall.
On the playing side, club coach Russell Earnshaw said he was devastated by news that the Bees have found themselves in this position.
“We will want to fulfil our fixtures because it will probably be the only chance the players have of being paid but there again you might not want to risk injury if you are going to be looking for another club.
“Some people have been looking at the potential of the Portway but the bottom line is that if we do not pay the taxman or we cannott get any movement from him then the club will be in a near impossible position.”
There are also rumours that the RFU has secured a sponsor for the Championship, which is shown on Sky TV. This too could be a source of revenue for the hard pressed clubs.
“We are not alone in all this,” said Brian Marshall, “the RFU is aware that up to a third of the clubs in the Championship are in difficulty but obviously our concern is with Birmingham & Solihull RFC.”
l The Solihull News will publish an update on this story on our website at www.solihullnews.net as soon as developments happen.