RFU gives Warriors deadline to prove stadium safety

RFU gives Warriors deadline to prove stadium safety

Worcester have never finished higher than eighth in their 16-year Premiership history

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has given the Worcester Warriors until midday on Friday to prove they can safely stage matches at Sixways Stadium or they will be suspended from all competitions.

Worcester must provide proof that the local authority has issued a general safety certificate and written confirmation of the medical supply.

The Premiership club are set to face Exeter at home on Sunday.

However, this game has now been thrown into major doubt.

“The RFU, PRL and DCMS have been asking Worcester Warriors owners for several weeks for assurances regarding funding and potential new ownership proposals,” read a statement from the RFU.

“All parties are concerned that the lack of available funds will not allow the club to stage matches safely for players and spectators, and provide continued medical care to players.”

Worcester’s future has been uncertain for weeks since they revealed they were in dialogue with HMRC over a winding up petition over an unpaid £6million tax bill on August 17. The total debts are said to be £25million.

Club still waiting to finalize deal with new investor after Warriors owners accepted the terms of sale tuesday.

“Any suspension can be lifted once the club has more funding security and is able to demonstrate its ability to stage matches safely,” the RFU statement added.

Worcester rejects administration’s claim

Earlier on Thursday, Worcester said a letter suggesting the club had gone into administration was mistakenly sent by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Warriors released a statementexternal link saying that was not true and that the DCMS had apologized for “the distress and anxiety caused”.

The announcement this week by owners Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring that they had “agreed” a deal with an investor that would save the club from administration has given new hope.

But 24 hours later, the club was still waiting for the “final signing”. Warriors said Wednesday that the agreement was “with attorneys for the respective parties, but signing of terms and conditions is required before the sale can be completed.”

The emergence of DCMS’ letter on Thursday via social media again appeared to cast doubt on the club’s future before Warriors moved to dismiss any speculation.

“That’s not true,” the club said. “The statement was sent in error by DCMS who apologized for their error and the distress and anxiety it caused our staff and suppliers at an already extremely stressful time.

“As we indicated yesterday, we are awaiting the signing of a memorandum of understanding with a buyer which would secure the club’s long-term future.”

The DCMS said the department “continues to work tirelessly with Warriors, the Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby on options regarding their future survival”.

Warriors director of rugby Steve Diamond told BBC Hereford & Worcester the new investors “had to deliver” and that the owners had told him that they “were in the final stages of this”.

The club started their Premiership season with a loss to London Irish last weekend.

“A lot of compassion” for the staff and the players of Worcester

Exeter are set to come to Sixways after beating Premiership champions Leicester in their opener and Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter has said they are preparing to play the game.

“Obviously there’s been a lot in the press that the game is being questioned and there doesn’t seem to be any concrete agreement yet on who gets paid who are required to put the game up,” he said. he told BBC Sport.

“It’s not up to us. Let’s remember a week ago people were saying Worcester wouldn’t play their first game and they did. Hopefully the game is on.”

Baxter added: “Without thinking of the players, there are dozens of people who are involved in running a rugby club and to think that their livelihood might not be their fault is difficult.

“We’ve spent a lot of time talking about making players’ families feel part of it and if you do that like most Premiership clubs, it becomes like an extended family and you feel for those players – so I totally understand how that must feel to those involved there now.

“They have bills to pay. There’s a lot of compassion for that.”

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