Wasps to be relegated from the Premiership after RFU confirms club’s suspension

Wasps’ relegation from the Gallagher Premiership has been confirmed by the Rugby Football Union.

The Coventry-based club – who have won the Premiership four times and European Cup twice – went into administration on October 17, making the entire playing and coaching staff redundant among 167 job losses.

The RFU issued a statement on Friday saying Wasps had been suspended from the Gallagher Premiership and Premiership Rugby Cup for the rest of the 2022-23 season.

Wasps file photo
Wasps have been suspended from the Gallagher Premiership Rugby and Premiership Rugby Cup for the remainder of the 2022-23 season (David Davies/PA)

The governing body said: “Following a meeting of the RFU’s Club Financial Viability Group today, the RFU can confirm the suspension of Wasps from Gallagher Premiership Rugby and Premiership Rugby Cup for the remainder of the 2022-23 season.

“The RFU’s Club Financial Viability Group is encouraged by the progress made by the administrators and it has taken the decision to suspend the team in order to support the prospect of securing a deal with the right investor and giving the club the best chance for a long term sustainable future.

“Any potential investors and management will require due diligence and approvals from the RFU and PRL. A condition of any potential deal will include a requirement for the payment of all rugby creditors.

“The decision also gives certainty to PRL and Premiership rugby clubs to protect the integrity of Gallagher Premiership Rugby and allow clubs and their teams to plan for the rest of the season.

“Under RFU regulations, Wasps will be relegated from Gallagher Premiership Rugby, and therefore if investors can be secured, the club will restart in the Championship in season 2023-24.

“The club is able to appeal this decision if it can show there was no fault insolvency.”

Wasps have been ever-present in the Premiership since the competition began 25 years ago, winning it in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008.

But Wasps were hit by a winding-up order from HM Revenue and Customs for £2million in unpaid tax, and were also required to repay a £35m bond which had helped finance the club’s relocation to Coventry during 2014.

Wasps Holdings Limited, the holding company for Wasps men’s and women’s rugby teams, plus Wasps Netball, also went into administration and the company ceased trading with immediate effect.

The club’s playing squad included the likes of England internationals Joe Launchbury, Jack Willis, Dan Robson and Brad Shields.

Administrators FRP said that a small number of employees have been retained to support with the “orderly wind down of the company” and the operation of the CBS Arena, which is unaffected by administration and continues to trade as normal.

Wasps’ demise came less than three weeks after their fellow Premiership club Worcester went into administration.

The loss of the two Midlands sides leaves 11 teams in the Premiership and also serious questions for English rugby to answer over the future of the club game.