Wakefield Trinity Wildcats are to go into administration to avoid a winding-up petition brought by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.
The club are thought to owe more than £300,000 in unpaid tax and, despite talks with four potential buyers, no deal has been reached.
The Wildcats are the second Super League club to go into administration in a little over two months.
And they could now start the new season with an automatic six-point penalty.
That is the statutory punishment, under Rugby Football League rules, for any club entering administration.
But Super League rivals Crusaders received only a four-point penalty when they sought protection from creditors in November, as they agreed to take on some of their existing debt.
This is the third time that the Wildcats have averted a winding-up order in the last two years.
And the Yorkshire club, one of the founder members of the game in 1895, will be hoping that this latest development will not do irreparable damage to their bid to land a new Super League licence in July.
We are working with a number of parties who have already expressed an interest in securing the future of the club
An appeal to fans to raise half a million pounds by the end of January fell well short of the target.
And, ahead of Wednesday's deadline, a Wakefield club statement read: "We have not been able to secure the funds necessary to pay the amounts due to HMRC.
"We have no choice but to seek the appointment of an administrator."
The appointment of Peter O'Hara as administrator is expected to be confirmed next Monday (7 February), just five days before the start of the new Super League season.
The club have already expressed their confidence at being able to resolve the current crisis ahead of this season's opener game against local rivals Castleford at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday week.
And this optimism was reiterated in Tuesday's statement.
"We are working with a number of parties who have already expressed an interest in securing the future of the club," it added.
"We wish to see the future of the club resolved as quickly as possible so that the Wildcats can enter the 2011 Super League season with stable financial and commercial foundations.
"With the right ownership and support from the fans and local community we are confident that the club will have a bright and successful future."
Wakefield had hoped to move into a new stadium in 2012.
But plans have been referred to a public inquiry which will force a lengthy delay, casting further doubt over the club's ability to secure a new Super League licence.
With their current Belle Vue home failing to meet the minimum standards, the Wildcats are making plans to share at Oakwell, Barnsley in 2012, in the hope of moving into their new home some time in 2013.