Worcester City are expected to enter administration after the Rugby Football Union banned them from all tournaments on Monday for failing to fulfill a financing deadline.

At least £6 million in unpaid taxes is among the more than £25 million ($26.5 million) in debt Worcester is carrying. Owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham, who are accused of stripping the team of its assets, are the target of mounting resentment.

The owners had until Monday at 1600 GMT to present confirmation of insurance coverage and cash for the monthly payroll, according to a statement from the RFU, adding they also lacked a “serious strategy to carry the club forward.”

Worcester Warriors have been immediately disqualified from all competitions, including the Gallagher Premiership, according to the RFU.

Worcester acknowledged that they had requested to put the club into administration with the UK government’s department of communications, culture, media, and sport (DCMS).

Worcester Warriors released a statement saying, “Worcester Warriors can announce that WRFC Trading Limited, the organization that owns the Worcester Warriors Premiership rugby club, has today requested DCMS to put the club into administration.”

“DCMS will now submit a court application to name administrators.

“Administration is viewed as the greatest alternative to preserve the interests of the company and provide the best prospects of a solution that saves the club,” according to the report. “Negotiations with potential investors have still not resulted in critically-needed cash.”

To “provide the club the greatest possible chance of survival” and to “protect a considerable government investment,” the DCMS stated in a statement that it had acceded to the administration’s request.

The decision made by the sport’s governing body was “very sad news for fans, staff, and players,” RFU CEO Bill Sweeney admitted.


Sadly, without guarantees in place, we have had to take this move to safeguard everyone’s best interests, he added. “We spoke with players and staff last week to explain why this action would be essential.”

In order for the club to return to professional rugby, Sweeney expressed his hope that a buyer could be found. He also said that the RFU will look to learn from the incident in order to solve more general financial issues in English club rugby.

While managing one’s own money is the duty of each company owner, he said, “we will look at the lessons learned from this circumstance to determine what regulation may be put in place to offer all parties with better financial transparency.”

Match off

Worcester fall off

There are 13 teams in the Premiership, and Worcester is not the only one that may go bankrupt.

Wasps, a two-time champion in Europe, revealed this week that they intended to hire administrators after missing a May deadline to pay back £35 million in loans that helped fund their move from London to the Midlands city of Coventry in 2014.

With the total debt of all Premiership teams believed to be more than £500 million, there are concerns that Worcester and Wasps just represent the tip of the iceberg.

We have been in this state of near-purgatory for a time, and it is about to come to a head, Worcester rugby director Steve Diamond said last week.

“I’m not sure how it came to be in this situation. I never imagined it would arrive at this point, but it has. It is tragic and evil that it has been let to essentially walk itself to the cemetery.

There is no word on when or if the club’s Sixways Stadium will reopen. Employees had till Monday afternoon to gather their possessions.

After three games and one victory, Worcester is third from the bottom of the Premier League standings. On Saturday, they defeated struggling Newcastle 39–5.

Rugby Premiership confirmed Gloucester and Worcester’s league game scheduled for this Saturday has been postponed.

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