Worcester still faces 'uncertain future'
REACTION: Worcester Director of Rugby Steve Diamond said the cash-strapped club still faced an uncertain future after a gutsy 21-36 loss at home to Exeter in the English Premiership on Sunday.
Worcester’s debts have soared to a reported £25 million (US$28 million) and this weekend’s game only got the go-ahead this past Friday after the Warriors just met a deadline to provide a safety certificate for matches at their Sixways Stadium.
Many Worcester players and staff have received just 65 percent of their salaries for August, a point recognised by several members of the backroom team forming a guard of honour for the Warriors side that took the field in front of a limited crowd of 5,000.
Worcester co-owner Jason Whittingham released another statement Sunday saying he believes the club will have new owners – and investment – within the next 48 hours.
But Diamond, speaking after Sunday’s match, said: “I don’t know how long we can keep going with this as I’ve been informed that negotiations are taking place behind the scenes but I’m not party to them.”
‘Don’t know how long we can keep going’
Diamond added: “There are limits to how many times players or staff can turn out on goodwill without being paid and it’s impossible for anyone to work without any internet and heating with winter around the corner.”
And the former Sale supremo, while saying Midlands club Worcester hoped to fulfil their fixture against Gloucester on Wednesday, warned the Warriors were trying the patience of UK financial authorities.
“Realistically I don’t know how long we can keep going for with the winding-up application due in late September, a line has to be drawn somewhere,” he said.
Despite all the off-field struggles, Worcester were competitive against Exeter before the 2020 double winners eventually outscored the home team by five tries to three.
But the players still had to take to the field in last season’s kit and the game only went ahead after several staff members worked for free.
Exeter No.8 Richard Capstick scored two tries, with Olly Woodburn, Jack Maunder and Joe Simmonds, who kicked four conversions and a penalty, also going over for the visitors.
Alex Hearle, Gareth Simpson and Ollie Lawrence all scored tries for Worcester, with two of those scores converted by Owen Williams and Billy Searle adding the goal points for the other.
“What’s going on in the background is mentally tough but hopefully it will get sorted,” said Worcester captain Francois Venter.
“We still don’t know the position but it will be very upsetting if it’s our last game on this pitch.”
Victory saw Exeter move second in the table after two rounds, a point behind early pacesetters Sale.
But this result, albeit a vast improvement on their 45-14 loss away to London Irish last week, left Worcester bottom of the 13-team table and still searching for their first points of the 2022/23 campaign.