Worcester Warriors staff told to collect belongings as suspension looms for crisis club

Worcester Warriors Sixways stadium - GETTY IMAGES
Worcester Warriors Sixways stadium - GETTY IMAGES

Staff at Worcester Warriors have been asked to come and collect their personal belongings from Sixways before 4.30pm on Monday afternoon as club directors anticipate their suspension from all competitions.

In a text message seen by Telegraph Sport, managing director Peter Kelly stressed that “this is not the end of the club” but that Sixways would be locked up before the Rugby Football Union’s 5pm deadline.

“Conversations remain ongoing but it’s not certain whether we will be able to satisfy the RFU’s requirements by the deadline stated,” read the message. “If we do not meet all of the criteria then it is highly unlikely that we will be opening the stadium on Tuesday.”

“To that end, the stadium will be open until 4.30pm tomorrow in order for staff to collect their personal belongings.”

Simon Massie-Taylor, the Gallagher Premiership's chief executive, insisted on Friday that Wasps and Worcester's financial issues are not the "tip of the iceberg" as the league seeks a greater insight into each club's finances.

Premiership clubs will need to be more transparent with their books moving forward as part of a multi-point plan, with Massie-Taylor admitting the governing body is "flying blind" when it comes to team finances.

Massie-Taylor's comments come with Worcester set to be suspended from all competitions on Monday by the Rugby Football Union due to a lack of insurance cover or long-term financial plan.

"We need to get better visibility of club finances. It has always been a thing where Premiership Rugby hasn’t had full oversight. We can administer the salary cap but beyond that we haven’t got a clear picture so I am flying blind on a number of these things," Massie-Taylor said.

"The clubs are willing and with that we can have a proper understanding of our eco-system and that will help find potential future investment at club level, it helps us on the commercial front and also sets an appropriate cost base for everyone as we manage our way out of that.

"We need a basic level of financial information, profit and loss statements. That shouldn’t be a problem but it’s not something we’ve had oversight of. Basic, I know, but it’s important if we’re going to have that sustainability.

"I think things have changed a lot in recent times, since Covid there’s a willingness now from clubs to participate and that’s what we need because everyone understands the need to create a more sustainable ecosystem because no one wants to see a situation we’re in now with two clubs struggling."

'Having two teams in trouble puts everything on its axis'

Given the uncertainty around Wasps and Worcester, Massie-Taylor was also unable to express confidence that the league would finish the season with 13 teams, while plans to expand the Premiership to 14 teams next season with a promoted side from the Championship may need to be reassessed.

"It’s difficult to judge and I wouldn’t want to pre-empt it. We’re going through a challenging few weeks here, it’s going to be a really difficult couple of months and we really hope these clubs can pull through.

"We’re a 13-team league at the moment with aspirations for a 14-team league by the end of the season. That’s been agreed. But having two teams in trouble at the moment puts everything on its axis a bit."

Nick Easter, the Worcester defence coach, summed up the desperation of the mood at Sixways after Worcester's emphatic 39-5 win over Newcastle. "For people in such a high position, the lack of communication is quite astonishing. That’s the first thing you show in terms of leadership – honesty and communication. In terms of what it’s been like, it’s been mental torture and torment. That says it all."