Gloucester head coach George Skivington has sympathised with crisis club Worcester over the “horrendous” situation Warriors find themselves in.
Worcester have been suspended from all competitions with immediate effect and placed into administration, which could also mean relegation.
Warriors failed to meet a Rugby Football Union deadline requesting proof of insurance cover and funding for the club’s monthly payroll.
Following confirmation from the RFU that Worcester Warriors have been suspended, our scheduled match this week will not go ahead as planned.
Our thoughts go to @WorcsWarriors players, staff and supporters. We hope to see them return to the Premiership again soon.
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) September 26, 2022
Twickenham bosses also wanted evidence of a “credible plan to take the club forward,” but they had no response.
Worcester are burdened by debts totalling more than £25million, including at least £6m in unpaid tax, amid growing anger felt towards owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham, who have been accused of asset-stripping the club, while Warriors’ Sixways Stadium is now closed.
Gloucester were due to host Worcester in the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday, but that game will not take place as Warriors grapple with huge uncertainty surrounding the club’s future.
It is understood Gloucester will lose around £400,000 as a result of the Kingsholm clash being off.
The club will now stage an open training and signing session on Saturday, with free admission for supporters.
“The cost is very big to the club,” Skivington said.
“It’s not on the level that Worcester are going through, but on a personal level for the club, these losses are big for us.
“At Worcester, there are some great people, and my sympathy goes out to anyone involved in this. It’s horrendous.
Thank you to every single person who has sent us a message today 🙏
A wonderful show of support from all across the world.
— Worcester Warriors (@WorcsWarriors) September 26, 2022
“We are very blessed to be in sport, and if you have got a job in rugby right now you really need to appreciate how lucky you are.
“For it to be pulled away just like that, financially it is a nightmare.
“If you are a young competitive athlete and you’ve set your stall out to achieve something this year and you might have moved house thinking Worcester is the club for you, it’s devastating. It’s very messy, and everyone has got my full sympathy with it.
“We went through Covid and everything, so I had a lot of conversations around finances, as I am sure every coach at every club did with the people who were in the know. Rugby has always been on a fine line.
“There might be one or two clubs who sit in a room and go ‘we’ve got loads of money, do what you want’ and we know who those clubs are, but there are not many.”
No decision has yet been made on whether Gloucester will be awarded points for the Worcester fixture, or if it could be rescheduled.
But Skivington added: “Honestly, I think the reality of rescheduling Premiership games in a season which is packed is going to be very, very difficult.
“We know there are too many games in a season, as it is. I think it is going to be a real challenge, and I don’t envy those guys in the room trying to work that out.”
It seems inevitable that Worcester will lose players as a result of Warriors’ current situation.
The squad currently has a week off, but even when players reconvene, they will have to train away from Sixways as there is no public liability insurance in place.
“I think it is very hard for the players at the moment because they want to be loyal to their club and they want it all to work out, but there is a reality of paying your mortgage,” Skivington said.
“All rugby players, they want to get better and be competitive, and not knowing how long you are going to play for is a pretty uncomfortable spot.
“I am sure you are going to see some players popping up in different places. The reality is there isn’t much money out there.
“Most people have spent their (salary) cap, and that’s probably the really hard bit for guys who have got good contracts, there are not going to be big teams out there with loads of money to spend on them.
“That is the next brutal reality after the first one, which isn’t fair on those guys at all.”