A Norwich pool and snooker club has been spared the axe after the company behind it went into administration.

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Pool and snooker clubs firm Rileys announced today that it will close 25 clubs with the loss of 146 jobs after calling in the administrators.

But a so-called pre-pack deal, where a sale of the business is agreed before insolvency proceedings start, means private investors take on the remaining 625 staff and 78 clubs - including the one at Magdalen Street in Norwich.

It is the second time the Milton Keynes-based business has gone into administration in recent years. In 2009, 198 staff lost their jobs when the company called in administrators after suffering from a downturn in trade and large debts.

Rileys chief executive Maurice Kelly said the company had suffered cash flow and trading difficulties as the double-dip recession put pressure on consumer spending.

He also blamed the smoking ban and changes to the Gambling Act which disadvantaged commercial snooker clubs.

Mr Kelly said: “We are desperately sorry that we could not take everyone with us but we’ve worked hard to rescue the majority of our clubs, saving 625 jobs.

“Continuing cash flow and trading difficulties on the High Street has forced this administration but the new company has been fortunate in securing significant investment from private sources to take the business forward and to secure one of the oldest names in British sport.

“The double-dip recession has put pressure on all discretionary spending in the country and we have not been immune to those problems experienced by retailers.

“There have also been on-going issues with the smoking ban and changes to the Gambling Act which disadvantaged commercial snooker clubs.”

Rileys, which operated 165 clubs at its peak, was founded in the 1870s by Irish entrepreneur E J Riley, who lived in Manchester.

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