RFU gives Worcester five days to sort out finances

Worcester Warriors must provide assurances they can safely host this weekend’s game against Newcastle Falcons amid financial issues and come up with a credible plan in five days to avoid suspension, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) said on Wednesday.

Worcester are looking for new owners after they were served a winding-up petition over unpaid tax, reportedly worth more than six million pounds ($6.8 million), in August. They owe the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) 14 million pounds after taking out a long-term loan during the coronavirus pandemic.

The club were set to be suspended from all competitions if they had failed to give assurances regarding the receipt of a General Safety Certificate from the local authority and written confirmation of medical provision.

They met last week’s deadline to provide assurances which allowed their game against Exeter Chiefs to go ahead and have until noon on Thursday to ensure correct conditions for the Newcastle clash on Saturday.

“However, all parties (the RFU, Premiership Rugby and DCMS) remain concerned that the lack of available funds will not allow the club to be sustainable over the long term,” England’s RFU said in a statement.

“In particular, the RFU is aware that insurance cover is only in place until midnight on Sep 26.

“Therefore, the RFU has written to Worcester to confirm they will be suspended from all competitions … if the club cannot evidence insurance cover in place, availability of funds to meet the monthly payroll and a credible plan to take the club forward, by 5 pm on Sept. 26.”

Former Premiership and European champions Wasps have filed a notice in the High Court stating their intention to appoint an administrator, local media reported citing a club statement, putting them on the brink of relegation.

Wasps were due to repay 35 million pounds in May from a bond scheme used to help finance their relocation from London to Coventry and purchase a lease on their stadium.

“Due to the impending threat of action from HMRC, Wasps Holdings Limited … have taken the difficult decision to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators in order to protect its interests,” the statement read.

“This measure does not mean the business is in administration but provides a crucial period of grace to continue negotiations with a number of interested parties to secure the long-term future of the group.”

RFU regulations state that a club placed in administration once the season has begun will be relegated for the following campaign.

Worcester’s co-owners said this month they had found three interested buyers and the deal was moving quickly.

Former England Deaf international Matt Gilbert and Worcester backs and transition coach Jonny Goodridge have come out of retirement to help the club begin their Premiership Rugby Cup defense against Gloucester on Wednesday.

Worcester have lost their last two Premiership matches against London Irish and Exeter.

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