Wasps and Worcester relegations upheld
BREAKING NEWS: Wasps and Worcester’s efforts to overturn relegation from the English Premiership have been rejected by the Rugby Football Union.
In a statement, issued on Tuesday, the RFU said it held the clubs responsible for their financial collapses.
Both teams were relegated from England’s top flight in October after they entered administration as a result of unpaid tax bills.
The knock-on effect was immediate, with a 13-team league reduced to 11 and players at the two clubs scrambling to find new employers.
Administrators for the two clubs submitted ‘No Fault Insolvency’ applications, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the primary reason for the clubs’ cash crisis.
If upheld, that would have enabled both Midlands sides to retain their Premiership status.
But the RFU’s club financial viability group found Wasps submitted “insufficient evidence” to prove there had been no fault by the club, while Worcester’s business model that appeared to be “perpetually funded by debt” was cited as a key reason for the failure of their application.
Both clubs have a right of appeal to an independent panel, while the RFU again highlighted a December 12 deadline for the sale of each team if they are to take up their places in the second-tier Championship next season.
“We are all deeply concerned by the insolvency of Worcester Warriors and Wasps rugby clubs,” RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said in a statement after Tuesday’s decision was announced.
“We appreciate this decision will be disappointing for the clubs and their fans but it’s clear from the club financial viability group’s investigation that there were factors beyond Covid that resulted in the clubs entering insolvency.”
He added: “This has reinforced the need for greater financial transparency between clubs, Premiership Rugby and the RFU to enable both organisations to have better visibility of how these businesses are run.
“We are already working on plans with Premiership Rugby to explore how to improve the structure, governance and business model of rugby union in England and support the clubs in becoming more sustainable.”
Last month, Sweeney was accused of being “asleep on the job” as a committee of UK lawmakers slammed English rugby chiefs for presiding over the financial implosion of Wasps and Worcester.
“I’ve dealt with football, but I’ve barely ever come across something as shambolic – a lack of care, a lack of thought of people in your own game,” said committee Chairman Julian Knight during a hearing at the House of Commons.