Fly-half Fin Smith demands answers from Worcester over unpaid wages

·3-min read

Fly-half Fin Smith has demanded answers from Worcester as the squad still wait to be paid the wages promised to them on Wednesday.

The Warriors claim that a complication with the bank’s automated system has led to the delay, but a number of players have issued breach of contract notices that enable them to leave if they do not receive their salaries for August within 14 days.

England Under-20 star Smith, a target for Northampton, took part in a co-ordinated social media campaign on Friday morning in which players and management called for the club to be saved.

“We’re just really frustrated now. We haven’t been paid, we don’t feel like we’re getting what we deserve as a group so we need answers,” said Smith on a video released on Twitter.

Ollie Wynn, a 20-year-old scrum-half, highlighted the impact the financial crisis is having on a personal level after revealing he has been made homeless.

“Worcester means a lot to me, as ever since I was a child looking up to my dad I’ve always wanted to play rugby,” Wynn said.

Worcester attended the Gallagher Premiership launch at Twickenham on Thursday and have been cleared to face London Irish on the opening weekend
Worcester attended the Gallagher Premiership launch at Twickenham on Thursday and have been cleared to face London Irish on the opening weekend (Aaron Chown/PA)

“Fortunately I signed a contract three years ago with Worcester and I’ve been here since. I’ve loved every moment of being here.

“Unfortunately the last three weeks have taken a turn. We haven’t been paid and I’ve been made homeless recently.

“Fortunately for me one of the older boys has put me up in their house, which I’m so grateful for and just shows as a unit how we are as boys, and hopefully we can come through this together.”

HM Revenue and Customs has frozen the Worcester finances in its pursuit of unpaid tax thought to be more than £6million, and it was only confirmed on Wednesday that they would be able to meet the August payroll due that same day.

However, staff and players have still not received their wages as resentment at co-owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham grows.

Premiership Rugby has said that Worcester will be involved in the opening weekend of the Gallagher Premiership – they are scheduled to face London Irish on Saturday week – but that announcement was grounded in the news that players were being paid.

Director of rugby Steve Diamond said on Thursday he is “100 per cent confident” the club will complete the season, but his immediate goal is motivating a squad of disgruntled players.

Advanced talks are being held with two potential buyers as debt-laden Worcester continue to deal with the financial fallout of the pandemic.

On Friday afternoon it was announced that Whittingham and Goldring are selling League One football club Morecambe, which they own through their company Bond Group Investments.