'It became apparent that we could not keep bailing them out'

Picture: DAVID FERGUSON. (37082436)

FINANCIAL support from the government to Jersey Reds had to stop when it became apparent the ailing rugby team was unable to attract new investment, the Treasury Minister has said.

Speaking during States question time yesterday, Deputy Ian Gorst was asked by Constable Andy Jehan when he became aware of the Reds’ “perilous” financial position.

Deputy Gorst said he had taken part in meetings alongside Economic Development Minister Kirsten Morel during the summer, as a result of which government had provided support to help meet the payments due to employees for their July and August salaries.

He said: “These payments were made to allow the club to work with its majority shareholders and seek third-party investment, but, looking at the accounts, it became apparent that we could not keep bailing them out and therefore we made the decision we did [not to provide further support].”

Deputy Gorst was asked by Mr Jehan whether concerns about the Reds had been passed to either the Jersey Financial Crimes Unit or the Jersey Financial Services Commission. He said he did not believe there had been contact with these organisations, although the government had held discussions with the governing body for rugby.

Deputy Moz Scott asked about deferred ITIS and social security contributions on behalf of Reds’ employees. Deputy Gorst said that his department had been “extremely lenient” to companies which had suffered financial difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic, and post-Covid, but said that this needed to change and companies in this position should have to provide payment plans if they were to avoid potential prosecution.

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