Worcester’s clash with Newcastle at Sixways on Saturday will go ahead but the financially strapped club could be managed by the government.
Rugby Football Union confirmed Worcester met the 12pm deadline on Thursday to prove they are capable of hosting their second home game of the season amid debts of over £25million.
However, there remains a very realistic possibility that it will be their last game in the Gallagher Premiership as the RFU have warned they will be banned from all competitions on Monday unless they can come up with a credible plan to get Sixways out of the crisis to lead.
Culture Secretary Stuart Andrew said the government would send professional advisers “immediately” to take a closer look at the club and possible options.
Putting the club into administration is a decision “we will not shy away from” if it proves to be the most appropriate, the minister added.
His comments came in response to requests in the House of Commons led by Conservative MP for Worcester Robin Walker for the Government to intervene urgently before Monday’s deadline.
Worcester owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham have until 5pm on September 26 to show progress has been made on insurance, payroll and finding a new buyer.
If they are banned after failing to meet these three criteria, they may be permanently banned from all competitions.
“While we know this will be unwelcome news, it is clear that the current state of affairs cannot proceed, particularly without the RFU and Premiership Rugby receiving these assurances,” the RFU said in a letter announced on Wednesday was sent to the owner.
Goldring and Whittingham have been accused of siphoning assets from the club and are yet to complete the sale to new owners despite repeated claims a deal is imminent.
They have also been served with a winding-up order from HMRC pursuing £6million in unpaid taxes.
Walker praised the “heroic” efforts of staff and players to keep the club running and urged Andrew to “please save our warriors”.
He told the Commons: “If the protests from the current owners are true – that they have the best interests of the club at heart – then they should certainly take the administrators into account at this stage too.
“While there are doubts as to their motivation, I am now calling on DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) – as the biggest creditor and the department responsible for safeguarding the interests of sport – to step in and do so before Monday.
“I know of at least two significant prospects, one of which is the party the owners said they wanted to strike a deal with last week, who have said they are interested in stepping in with new funding to support the club, but only through an administrative procedure.
“I am telling the minister that this now appears to be the only way forward.”
Mr Andrew said in reply: “The department works tirelessly with the club’s directors, Premiership Rugby and Rugby Football Union to achieve the best possible outcome for all parties involved.
“We have poured more energy into Worcester than any other club and will continue to do so. This included daily dialogue with club stakeholders and directors to explore all available options and seek appropriate professional advice.
“At this stage we are not ruling out any options and are immediately sending professional advisers to take a closer look at the club and possible options.
“If it emerges from this work that the most viable option to save the club is to place him in administration, then that is a decision we will not fear.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/government-robin-walker-newcastle-gallagher-premiership-house-of-commons-b2173388.html Worcester will take on Newcastle but the government could put the club under administration