Premiership Club crisis: Worcester given deadline
NEWS: Worcester Warriors face suspension from all competitions unless the financially-stricken English Premiership club meet Friday’s deadline to provide safety certification for matches at their Sixways Stadium.
English rugby chiefs wrote to Worcester on Thursday demanding proof of the council safety certificates required to allow Warriors to continue hosting games.
Their Premiership match against Exeter Chiefs at Sixways on Sunday is now in doubt unless the beleaguered club produce the documents by 11.00 GMT on Friday.
Worcester’s debts have spiralled to a reported £25 million ($28 million), but the club’s future had appeared brighter this week when co-owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham claimed to have agreed terms on a sale.
However, rugby authorities remain to be convinced by the apparent deal and the suspension threat has plunged Worcester into fresh turmoil.
“The RFU has written to Worcester Warriors to confirm they will be immediately suspended from all competitions, including the Gallagher Premiership, Allianz Premier 15s and Allianz Cup if assurances as to the ability to safely hold matches at Sixways Stadium are not provided by 12 noon on 16 September,” an RFU statement said.
“This includes evidence that the local authority has issued a General Safety Certificate, and written confirmation of medical provision.
“Any suspension may be lifted once the club has more security of funding and is able to evidence its ability to hold matches safely.
“The RFU, PRL and DCMS has been seeking assurances from the Worcester Warriors owners regarding funding and potential new ownership proposals for several weeks.”
Worcester are in danger of expulsion from all league competitions as the protracted sale drags on, with the club forced to deny they had gone into an administration on Thursday after British government staff sent out a statement in error.
The Warriors responded to the suspension threat by accepting the RFU’s position and insisting they will work to meet the deadline.
“Worcester Warriors understand the position of the RFU, PRL and Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport concerning the requirements for staging this weekend’s Allianz Cup and Gallagher Premiership matches at Sixways,” a Worcester statement said.
“Our staff have been working hard this week to ensure that we comply with the requirements for a General Safety Certificate and we will continue to do so on Friday morning to ensure that we are fully compliant.
“We, and the potential new owners of the club, are also aware of the serious consequences that may follow if the club is suspended from playing any competitive rugby.
“The best solution to avoid such a sanction is to ensure that heads of terms on the agreement with the new owners are signed as quickly as possible. Work continues this evening to that end.”