Wasps have pulled out of Saturday’s Premiership clash with Exeter and admit it is likely they will go into administration by the end of the week.
The news is a crushing blow not least to the famous English club but also the game as a whole as the former Heineken Cup winners are now on the brink.
Administration in the coming days
“It has become clear that there is likely to be insufficient time to find a solvent solution for the companies within the group, and it is therefore likely that they will enter into administration in the coming days with a view to concluding deals shortly thereafter,” read a Wasps statement on their official website.
“In light of the current situation, we have therefore taken the decision to withdraw the Wasps men’s team from this Saturday’s league fixture against Exeter Chiefs.”
Wasps Holdings Limited recently confirmed a second notice of intention to appoint administrators had been filed, adding talks were ongoing with possible investors, including ex-Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, in the face of a winding-up order from HM Revenue and Customs for £2million in unpaid tax.
The former Premiership champions also face having to pay back a £35million bond which had helped finance their relocation to Coventry during 2014.
Failure to secure finance required to prevent administration could now result in automatic relegation from England’s top flight down to the Championship.
Working tirelessly to save club
The Wasps statement continued: “Since filing a notice of intention to appoint administrators on 21st September, we have been working tirelessly to secure the long-term future for Wasps Holdings Limited, and all of the organisations and clubs that sit within the group.
“Negotiations to secure deals that will allow the men’s and women’s rugby teams, netball team and the arena (Coventry Building Society Arena) and associated business to move forward are ongoing.
“While the companies within the group all represent strong and viable businesses, the reality is that they have insufficient cash at this time to continue to fund operations until these complex negotiations have concluded.
“We have therefore been asking potential funders and investors to provide bridging finance to provide enough time for a solvent solution to be found. Regrettably, this has not been possible to date, although we will continue to pursue this until the very last opportunity.
“This (withdrawing from Saturday’s game) was an extremely difficult decision to make, and we recognise that this will not only impact on our players, staff and supporters, but also Exeter Chiefs and the wider rugby community.
Right course of action at this time
“However, we strongly believe it is the right course of action when, at this time, we are unable to meet our regulatory requirements in the absence of fully-concluded deal negotiations.
“We understand that this news will be disappointing and concerning for everyone involved. Our immediate focus will be on ensuring that all of our players and the staff of Wasps and the arena are fully updated and given the support they need.
“While these are challenging times, we remain confident that new owners will be found that will allow the clubs and businesses within the Group to move forward.”
In their glory years, Wasps won the Heineken Cup twice and Challenge Cup once on the European stage and have lifted the Premiership trophy four times.