Wasps and Worcester are fighting for their future amid a major credit crunch across the Premier League.
Here, the PA news agency investigates what is going wrong at the ailing English rugby club’s top flight.
What happened to wasps?
Coventry club bosses have confirmed their “intent to appoint administrators” amid a battle to stave off a resolution request from HMRC.
What does that mean?
The Treasurer will collect the debt from Wasps should the club not be able to show that it can repay its debt. The latest move by Wasps is an attempt to get a stay of execution from HMRC’s warrant.
Are wasps in administration then?
Wasps insist they have not entered administration but have signaled intentions to do just that should ongoing talks to acquire investments fail.
What are the risks for wasps?
Premiership rules mean automatic relegation for any club slipping into administration. The financial consequences of such a punishment could lead to the club collapsing.
How did wasps get to this point?
Wasps announced they would save the club from the abyss when they secured a move from High Wycombe to Coventry in 2014. The club bought the Coventry Building Society Arena with high hopes for big crowds and bulging box offices. But not even a supporter bond issuance in 2015 revived the ongoing financial woes. Wasps admitted they were unable to repay that £35million bond to fans as planned in July as the club sought refinancing options.
Then what about Worcester?
Worcester faces a struggle to continue operations from one day to the next. Owners Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring have insisted for more than a week that a deal with new buyers is close to completion. However, no evidence of this deal has yet been presented.
Why is Worcester in trouble?
The Warriors are saddled with more than £25million in debt, with an HMRC winding-up order due in October. Sixways Club players and staff have not received their full wages due to a lack of funds resulting in significant operational shortcomings.
What about Worcester now?
England Rugby Football Union club governors were so concerned about the Warriors’ plight that they issued a stark ultimatum: demonstrate future funding and a long-term plan to rejuvenate the club by Monday 26th.
Why are so many clubs struggling?
The impact of the pandemic cannot be ignored, but wasps’ problems date back to Covid-19. Worcester cannot hide behind Covid as a panacea either. Increasing wages for top players and coaches despite salary caps, constant competition to attract players, and ongoing struggles to increase game excitement are all important factors.
So where is English club rugby headed?
Exeter boss Rob Baxter admitted there could just be too many clubs in English rugby. Sustainability will be a big buzzword in the coming weeks and months. Authorities will do whatever it takes to prevent Wasps or Worcester from hitting the wall. But the wider argument over the Premiership’s best long-term plan will rage on.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/worcester-wasps-administration-premiership-rfu-b2172515.html Explains England rugby club’s financial crisis as Worcester and Wasps struggle to survive