FINANCIALLY crippled Widnes have sought to assure fans their money will not disappear down a black hole if they contribute to a new fundraising scheme – and hinted for the first time of a new professional team in the town if the club folds
The Vikings, to whom administrators have been appointed, today (Saturday) announced VIQI as an official fundraising partner for saving the Championship club.
But with many rugby league fans feeling let down by previous appeals at troubled teams such as Bradford, the Vikings have said the money donated will be “ring fenced” and not frittered away on a failed rescue bid.
“As an independent organisation with its own bank account, all money donated is securely ring-fenced by VIQI and will not be put at risk by the club’s current administration,’ the statement said.
VIQI has supported the club for almost 20 years, the club added.
“Money donated will be used to help take the club out of administration, if possible, or to support the continuation of professional rugby league in our town.”
That statement marks the first time anyone has suggested Widnes Vikings be replaced by a new entity. Speculation previous had them relocated to Liverpool, with reports Toronto owner David Argyle was interested in being involved.
The Vikings also encouraged supporters to continue backing a private crowdfunding effort kicked off by fan Bethany Pennington.
“Vikings supporters are encouraged to sign up and become a VIQI member,” the club continued.
“This can help provide sustainable and reliable income to support Widnes Vikings.
“This will help VIQ to demonstrate to potential investors that Widnes Vikings can become a sustainable club which has the full backing of the supporters.”
The club is aiming for between 1000 and 1500 members contributing £15 each per month.
“Securing 1000 or more members by Wednesday 27th of February at £15 a month is essential,” said VIQI founder Jason Shaw.
“Ultimately we hope that VIQI can work to help establish an active supporters’ trust, with the aim of taking an ownership stake in the club.”