Premiership cash crunch: Lawyers called in Warriors saga
REACTION: Former Worcester Warriors head coach Steve Diamond has pulled out of an appearance on a television programme after it was revealed that his consortium is not the preferred bidder to buy Worcester Warriors.
Worcester collapsed into administration and was partially liquidated this month with HM Customs and Revenue pursuing unpaid tax in the region of £6 million.
They are currently suspended from the Premiership and face relegation at the end of the season.
Atlas Worcester Warriors Rugby Club Limited – a consortium led by James Sandford and former owner Jim O’Toole – have been named as the preferred bidders by the administrators Begbies Traynor.
They in effect have beaten Diamond’s own project to take over the club. Diamond’s “Sixways Village” bid would have seen the former head coach backed by long-time friend Mike Blood and ex-Leicester CEO Simon Cohen.
Diamond was due on BT Rugby Tonight with Craig Doyle, Ugo Monye, Danny Care and Lawrence Dallaglio, but pulled out as the news broke.
According to Doyle, Diamond said: “The word from Steve Diamond who we spoke to a short time ago was: ‘I’ve spoken to my lawyers. I’ve heard nothing.’ ”
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“This is a positive and major step in the process, it’s all about keeping an elite rugby club up and running”ADVERTISEMENT
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) October 30, 2022
Whoever ultimately takes over, it’s positive news and a step closer to Worcester returning to competitive rugby next season.
News broke earlier this evening on the BBC of the preference for the O’Toole-Sandford lead deal, which is apparently partially backed by American money.
Administrator Julie Palmer said on regional radio station BBC Hereford & Worcester that: “They have committed to the transaction financially by putting a sizeable deposit down for the preferred-bidder status. That’s very important as we still have tight timelines to work with, with the RFU and PRL, in terms of them understanding the shape of the league for next season.
“And what we didn’t want to do was to waste time in discussions with someone who didn’t proceed. So that preferred-bidder deposit is a real key aspect of them showing that they are committed to this and that they do intend to follow the whole acquisition through.”
The group say on their new website that: “Atlas Worcester Warriors Rugby Club Limited was formed specifically as a vehicle to support the owner’s aspiration and willingness to provide a financial rescue package to, and acquire control of Worcester Warriors, the English Premiership Rugby Club.”
* Additional reporting by PA