Coventry Rugby Club has gone bust with crippling debts and has officially ceased trading.
The decision to wind up the club through voluntary liquidation was made by club chairman and owner Andrew Green.
It follows receipt of a winding-up order from the Inland Revenue for unpaid tax bills, believed to be in the region of six figures.
Players were ordered not to turn up for training this morning and directors were told to lock up the Butts Park Arena stadium, with all staff sent home.
A last-ditch effort by rebel club officials are under way in the hope that Friday night’s Championship game against Bedford goes ahead.
The club could face exclusion by the RFU if any scheduled league game is not played.
The immediate future of the 135-year-old club seems perilous, but president Peter Rossborough and members of the club’s advisory board have been in close contact with the Rugby Football Union over recent weeks with the intention of putting a rescue package in place.
Officials are still frantically examining their legal options in the hope of a dramatic eleventh-hour formal take-over and financial agreements to save the club.