Wakefield Wildcats are to go into administration on the eve of the new engage Super League season.
The Yorkshire club, one of the founder members of the game in 1895, took the action to avoid a winding-up petition brought by HM Revenue and Customs for an unpaid tax bill thought to be in excess of £300,000.
The appointment of Peter O’Hara as administrator is expected to be confirmed next Monday, just five days before Wakefield’s opening Super League match of 2011 against Castleford at the Millennium Stadium.
The Wildcats’ directors had asked supporters to raise £500,000 by the end of January in order to secure the club’s immediate future but that appeal fell well short of the target.
Wakefield say they are in talks with four potential buyers and the prospect of a takeover would be improved if the club were to emerge debt-free from administration.
It is the third time the Wildcats have averted a winding-up order in the last two years.