1. ITV Report

Appeal raises tens of thousands of pounds to try to save Widnes Vikings

Photo: ITV News

Widnes say fundraising efforts to save the beleaguered Vikings have realised tens of thousands of pounds

The Championship club entered administration on Friday following the collapse of a planned takeover and were immediately warned they could go into liquidation within a week unless new investment is found.

Vikings Quid's In (VIQI), an independent organisation that has supported Widnes for almost 20 years, stepped forward to help coordinate fundraising efforts and has so far persuaded 375 individuals to sign up.

Organisers say they have their own bank account and all donations will be securely ring-fenced and not be put at risk by the club's current administration challenges.

They say the 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 the town.

Credit: ITV News

"We have been overwhelmed by the response from supporters and rugby league fans around the world, who have donated and signed up to become VIQI members.

"Behind the scenes, staff, volunteers and players have been working tirelessly to help save the club. We're not giving up and thank everyone who is showing their support."

– Phil Finney, Widnes Vikings

Widnes, who were one of the 22 founding members of the Northern Union which went on to become the Rugby Football League, were world club champions in 1989 but relegated from Super League at the end of the 2018 season.

A special fundraising event will take place tonight at the Halton Stadium, from 6.30-8.30pm. All money raised will be allocated to the VIQI fundraising efforts to help save the club.

"Whilst all of us are hurting by the current crisis, the only thing that matters now is action.

"A united effort from our supporters and backers of the club can help save our historic team."

– Jason Shaw, founder of VIQI