WIDNES Vikings have once again issued an invitation to investors to take over the running of the club.

The club, who were relegated from Super League last year, have issued a statement from chairman Steve O'Connor following the announced departure of CEO James Rule.

O'Connor spelled out that the board are willing to hand over their stake in the club free of charge - and in return they would take on the assets, liabilities and long-term strategic direction.

O'Connor said: “The absolute priority for the Board of Directors at Widnes Vikings has always been to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of this club. As has been stated on many occasions, the Board have always been open to the possibility of receiving external investment or agreeing the purchase of the club by a third party, with the intention that every penny received is directly placed in strengthening and sustaining the club.

"Following James Rule’s announcement of his plans to move on from the club before the start of the 2019 season, it is important that we again publicly confirm this fact.

"The Board of Directors of Widnes Vikings remain open to exploring any viable offers for the club to be taken on by a new owner or ownership group. As such, we would like to confirm that all shareholders of the club are willing to gift their stake in Widnes Vikings to a viable party without charge.

"We will be actively pursuing any opportunities to do this in the coming weeks and months.

"This gifting of shares to a new owner would see them take full control of the club – its assets, liabilities and long-term strategic direction.

"We have always seen our role at Widnes Vikings as one of being custodians of the club, and should a new owner or ownership group be identified we will take pride in the fact that we have played a part in maintaining this club for future generations.

"We hope that a new investor can be found who has the ability to support the sustainability and continued progress of Widnes Vikings for the years ahead.”