Worcester Warriors’ liquidation is set to take place on Wednesday at the high court in a development which could see several players leaving the Sixways-based outfit.
HM Revenue and Customs is pursuing the Warriors for unpaid tax which is roughly £6million and will go ahead with the winding up petition knowing the club is in not in a position to clear the debt.
While the Warriors are in administration, the company that holds player and some staff contracts – WRFC Players Ltd, a subsidiary of WRFC Trading Ltd – is still operational and is the subject of HMRC’s action.
Unless the high court opts for an adjournment, WRFC Players Ltd will be wound up in a move that result in those contracts being terminated.
Ted Hill, Ollie Lawrence, Fergus Lee-Warner and Valeriy Morozov have already moved to Bath on loan and other players are to follow them out of Sixways due to becoming unemployed, along with members of staff.
Players’ departure brought forward
Because they were not paid for September, all players were able to leave on October 14 anyway, meaning that liquidation has simply brought their departure forward by nine days.
The Premiership outfit’s administrators Begbies Traynor are looking for a buyer for WRFC Trading Ltd and are negotiating with two consortiums, but any successful takeover will bring with it the urgent task of rebuilding the squad.
Worcester’s fixtures against Gloucester and Harlequins were cancelled on Monday and while they are still suspended from all tournaments, they could be restored to the Premiership if a buyer is found by the middle of this month.
The Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby have not made a definite decision regardinf relegation yet, although the chances of continuing in England’s top flight appear remote considering the lack of time to agree terms with new investors.
The Warriors’ owners, Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham, have become deeply unpopular figures among players, staff and supporters for allowing the club to sink into such a precarious position.
The pair have also been mocked for appearing to blame the squad and supporters for the crisis that has engulfed Sixways in an extraordinary statement issued on Friday.