Worcester Warriors: Administrators already searching for a buyer

Dylan Coetzee

Administrators have already begun searching for a buyer for Worcester Warriors in a bid to revive the financially troubled club.

Julie Palmer, the lead administrator, has been impressed by Worcester’s staff and facilities as independent insolvency advisors Begbies Traynor is on-site at Sixways Stadium meeting the operational staff.

Placed in administration

Worcester was suspended on Monday and placed into administration after the club failed to meet a deadline made by the Rugby Football Union to provide proof of insurance and funding for their payroll.

Warriors failed to meet a Rugby Football Union deadline requesting proof of insurance cover and funding for the club’s monthly payroll.

The club’s debt exceeds £25million with more than £6million in unpaid tax as owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham have been thought to have asset-stripped the club.

“The focus is to accelerate conversations with interested parties, try and identify somebody who is able to move quickly, is credible in terms of funding and their credibility with the RFU that they would pass the fit and proper person test,” Palmer told the PA news agency.

“The (Harlequins) match remains under consideration, but I guess somebody would have to move really quickly in terms of funding and satisfying the RFU if that was to happen.

“If over a period of weeks we get someone who is credible into a position where it looks like it might go forward, then hopefully the RFU would work with us to extend those deadlines, if they need extending, to get a deal over the line.

“The RFU have got their own timelines they need to work with in terms of fit and proper person and making sure the plan is credible from their point of view.”

Palmer could not make any assurances or offer any timeline but remains focused on the task at hand whilst being impressed by the professionalism of the club’s staff.

“I am an optimistic person by nature. I have always got my restructuring hat on to see if we can find a rescue mechanism.

“We will be working as hard as we possibly can to try and achieve that.

“I am superbly impressed by the quality of the stadium, the facilities and the professionalism of the staff.

“I am hoping that anybody who is thinking of buying this would be similarly impressed. There is a really good club here.”

Challenging time

Gloucester coach George Skivington sympathised with Worcester whilst also highlighting the £400,000 his club will lose after their fixture against Warriors.

“The cost is very big to the club,” Skivington said.

“It’s not on the level that Worcester are going through, but on a personal level for the club, these losses are big for us.

“At Worcester, there are some great people, and my sympathy goes out to anyone involved in this. It’s horrendous.

“We are very blessed to be in sport, and if you have got a job in rugby right now you really need to appreciate how lucky you are.

“For it to be pulled away just like that, financially it is a nightmare.

“If you are a young competitive athlete and you’ve set your stall out to achieve something this year and you might have moved house thinking Worcester is the club for you, it’s devastating. It’s very messy, and everyone has got my full sympathy with it.

“We went through Covid and everything, so I had a lot of conversations around finances, as I am sure every coach at every club did with the people who were in the know. Rugby has always been on a fine line.

“There might be one or two clubs who sit in a room and go ‘we’ve got loads of money, do what you want’ and we know who those clubs are, but there are not many.”

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