Worcester Warriors face suspension from all tournaments unless they can provide the Rugby Football Union (RFU) with safety certification to host games at Sixways by midday of Friday.
English rugby bosses wrote to the struggling Premiership outfit and demanded proof of safety certificates which will allow Worcester fixture to go ahead.
Doubts over Worcester v Exeter game
There is major doubts that Sunday’s game between the Warriors and Exeter Chiefs will take place at Sixways unless the home side’s owners produce the relevant documents without delay.
The RFU are demanding evidence of council safety certificates as well as medical cover, with the Warriors’ time running out to satisfy the English game’s authorities.
Worcester owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham have claimed to have agreed terms on the club’s sale, but the game’s bosses convinced with players and staff still in limbo.
“The RFU has written to Worcester Warriors to confirm they will be immediately suspended from all competitions, including the Gallagher Premiership, Allianz Premier 15s and Allianz Cup if assurances as to the ability to safely hold matches at Sixways Stadium are not provided by 12 noon on 16 September,” read an RFU statement issued on Thursday night.
“This includes evidence that the local authority has issued a General Safety Certificate, and written confirmation of medical provision.
“Any suspension may be lifted once the club has more security of funding and is able to evidence its ability to hold matches safely.
“The RFU, PRL and DCMS has been seeking assurances from the Worcester Warriors owners regarding funding and potential new ownership proposals for several weeks.”
Expulsion from all league competitions is still a possibility, should Worcester be unable to produce satisfactory financing amid the continued and protracted talk of the club being sold.
The Warriors accepted the RFU’s position and will continue in their bid to provide safety certificates in time for Sunday’s Premiership fixture to go ahead.
“Worcester Warriors understand the position of the RFU, PRL and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport concerning the requirements for staging this weekend’s Allianz Cup and Gallagher Premiership matches at Sixways,” read a Worcester statement.
“Our staff have been working hard this week to ensure that we comply with the requirements for a General Safety Certificate and we will continue to do so on Friday morning to ensure that we are fully compliant.
“We, and the potential new owners of the club, are also aware of the serious consequences that may follow if the club is suspended from playing any competitive rugby.
“The best solution to avoid such a sanction is to ensure that heads of terms on the agreement with the new owners are signed as quickly as possible. Work continues this evening to that end.”
DCMS staff’s error
Worcester had to deny being forced into an administration earlier on Thursday, after bungling DCMS staff sent out a statement by mistake.
Now though, the RFU has moved to force the issue ahead of Sunday’s clash with Exeter, with both clubs’ players and coach still unsure whether the game will be played.
“All parties are concerned that the lack of available funds will not allow the club to hold matches safely for players and spectators, and for ongoing medical provision for players,” read the RFU statement.
“In particular, the local authority have not yet provided the club a General Safety Certificate to allow matches to be played at Sixways Stadium.
“All parties must balance the needs of the club to have time to raise funds to safely hold matches, with the need for certainty for supporters, players and support staff of all teams for the matches due to be held at Sixways Stadium this weekend.”
The Warriors’ debts are spiralling out of control. It’s as high as £25million, but Worcester’s owners insist a sale of the club is close to happening.
Government officials at DCMS were left embarrassed after they made a mistake which plunged Worcester’s plight into the realms of a farce on Thursday morning.
An e-mail declaring Worcester had fallen into administration was sent out to the club’s fans, with the Warriors quickly insisting the statement was a mistake.
The DCMS had prepared the e-mail in case of the club going into administration, but a draft somehow found its way into the public domain.
“Worcester are aware of a letter that is in circulation from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport claiming that the owners have put the club into administration. This is NOT true,” a Warriors’ statement read.
“The statement was sent out in error by DCMS who have apologised for their mistake and the distress and anxiety it has caused to our staff and suppliers at what is already an extremely stressful time.”
The DCMS is understood to be looking into how the error occurred, and is continuing to work with Worcester, the Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby on options around their survival.