HomeSportsWorcester Warriors suspended from all competitions after RFU Monday deadline missed

Worcester Warriors suspended from all competitions after RFU Monday deadline missed

The Warriors were given a deadline of 5pm on Monday to evidence insurance cover, availability of funds to meet the monthly payroll, and a credible plan to take the club forward, but none was forthcoming

Last Updated: 26/09/22 5:29pm

Worcester have been suspended from all competitions by the RFU

Worcester Warriors have been suspended from all competitions by the Rugby Football Union after missing the deadline to show plans were in place to move forward from the financial crisis enveloping the club.

Worcester were given until 5pm on Monday to provide the governing body with evidence that they possessed the required insurance, were able to meet payroll and have a “credible plan to take the club forward”.

The Gallagher Premiership club have been burdened by debts totalling more than £25m, including at least £6m in unpaid tax, amid growing anger felt towards owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham.

“The owners of Worcester Warriors have not met the RFU’s 5pm deadline to evidence insurance cover, availability of funds to meet the monthly payroll, and a credible plan to take the club forward,” a statement from the RFU said.

“The RFU has therefore suspended Worcester Warriors from all competitions, including the Gallagher Premiership, Allianz Premier 15s, U18s Academy Cup and Allianz Cup with immediate effect.”

The RFU will now work with Premiership Rugby and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to establish what this will mean in terms of the competitions affected by Worcester’s suspension.

RFU chief executive officer Bill Sweeney expressed his thanks to all involved at the Warriors whose efforts have allowed the club to continue playing during the opening weeks of the 2022/23 Premiership season, but added the governing body were left with little choice but to suspend them from all competitions.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney

“We appreciate this is incredibly difficult news for fans, staff and players,” Sweeney said. “We would like to thank the staff and players who have worked tirelessly over recent weeks to enable matches to continue.

“We met with players and staff last week to explain why this action would be necessary and regrettably without assurances in place we have had to take this action to protect everyone’s best interests.

“We hope a buyer can be secured to allow Worcester Warriors and The University of Worcester Warriors to return to professional league rugby. While it is the responsibility of each business owner to manage their individual finances, we will look at learnings from this situation to see what regulation can be put in place to provide all parties with more financial transparency. Rugby is a relatively young professional sport and it has been widely recognised that clubs have been facing financial challenges even before Covid.

“Successful professional leagues are vital for the wellbeing of the whole game. They inspire current and future players, delight fans by showcasing high skill levels and the exciting nature of our game. This is why it is so important that we continue to work with Premiership Rugby to improve the structure, governance and business model of rugby union in England.

“The RFU will continue to support community rugby in Worcester and is fully committed to ensuring local academy opportunities are provided for pathway players.”

The news of Worcester’s suspension was followed by Premiership rivals Wasps, who last week filed a notice of intent to appoint an administrator, tweeting their support for the Warriors.

“Wasps and the entire rugby family stands as one with all the players, staff and supporters of Worcester Warriors,” a post on the Coventry-based club’s Twitter feed read.

On Saturday evening, the night of their Round 3 Premiership victory over Newcastle Falcons at Sixways, director of rugby Steve Diamond look to be sending out a farewell message.

“It’s been some ride with the Warriors. Loved every minute. Good night from me,” Diamond said.

He prefaced the message with the hashtag that Worcester’s players and staff have been using throughout the club’s difficulties ‘#TOGETHER’.

Diamond had been a stoic figure and assured leader during Worcester’s challenges. He joined the club as lead rugby consultant back in November 2021 and in January this year, it was announced he would become director of rugby following Alan Solomons retirement at the end of June.

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