Worcester D-Day Q&A: What happens next at Sixways?

Steve Diamond and players - Worcester D-Day Q&A: What happens next at Sixways? - GETTY IMAGES
Steve Diamond and players - Worcester D-Day Q&A: What happens next at Sixways? - GETTY IMAGES

After weeks of speculation, Worcester Warriors will finally enter administration after the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport accepted a request from the club's owners to place the club in administration. That news followed the club missing a deadline set by the Rugby Football Union to show evidence of insurance cover, availability of funds to meet the monthly payroll, and a credible plan to take the club forward.

Below, Telegraph Sport looks at what happens next for the beleaguered Premiership club.

How did Monday unfold at Sixways?

Staff had until 4.30pm to collect their belongings from Sixways Stadium, but the 5pm RFU deadline was missed and the club was suspended from all competitions.

Soon after, DCMS announced that they would apply to the court to appoint administrators.

What does the suspension mean?

Worcester have been suspended from all competitions, including the Gallagher Premiership, Allianz Premier 15s and Allianz Cup. Worcester’s game with Gloucester scheduled for this weekend will no longer take place, and instead Gloucester will be hosting an open training session free of charge for supporters.

What happens in administration?

Going into administration does not mean that Worcester will be relegated immediately, but they will receive a 35-point deduction. The club's accounts are currently being scrutinised by independent insolvency advisers Begbies Traynor.

“We will now apply to the court to appoint administrators and will begin work to explore all possible options to protect creditors and preserve the local rugby offering in Worcester,” said DCMS.

Outlining the administration process, Worcester said in a statement: “It is hoped that this course of action will help to bring forward interested purchasers who may be able to preserve the club. Once appointed, administrators will communicate with staff, supporters, partners, sponsors and creditors about timescales and processes to seek a purchaser.”

Can Worcester still train?

Worcester's players have been given the week off but on their return will be able to train, though not at Sixways.

“The building isn't insured from Monday so we are not allowed to train, use the gym or the rest of the facilities. The caretaker and his wife are being chucked out as residents on the site,” Steve Diamond, the Worcester director of rugby, said after Saturday's win over Newcastle, adding that the club may train at nearby Worcester RFC, the community club who play in Regional 2 West Midlands Division and who are “totally separate from the Warriors”.

Will players stay at the club?

Worcester's players are next due to be paid at the end of September. As was the case in August, if those payments are missed on Oct 1 then players are able to issue breach-of-contract notices, which would give Worcester 14 days to rectify the issue. If payments are not made within that time, then players can serve notice to be released from their contracts after a further 14 days.

Diamond revealed on Friday that he has not spoken with Kyle Hatherell, the Worcester back-row who has not played this season and has been heavily linked with a move to La Rochelle. Other Worcester players including Ollie Lawrence, Duhan van der Merwe, Ted Hill and Fin Smith would be in high demand.

Nick Easter, the club's defence coach, addressed the possibility of players leaving post-match on Saturday. “It’s a short lifespan as a professional rugby player and you have to make hay while the sun shines. What you do after rugby can be as a result of what happens in rugby. You want to be playing in the biggest games and the biggest competitions against the best. They have to grab that opportunity when they can.

“If we get through this and that happens to be with Worcester Warriors, then great. If it’s somewhere else, then I wouldn’t blame them at all. They’ve served the club very well. I’d love to keep them and I think it’s important we keep them, but they can make their own minds up.”

How long will the suspension last?

No one knows. Last Friday Diamond referenced potentially returning after the team's bye week in round six, which would mean facing Bristol on Oct 22.

“I am assuming if we are suspended and it does go into administration, then it will be a two- or three-week process, so we could be playing again after the break. We have a bye week in two weeks' time.”

But the suspension will last until Worcester can fulfil all of the RFU's requirements.

Will this lead to long-term change?

The RFU have suggested that Worcester's plight will lead to a reassessment of how club's finances are managed, with Bill Sweeney, the RFU chief executive, calling for clubs to open their books.

“While it is the responsibility of each business owner to manage their individual finances, we will look at learnings from this situation to see what regulation can be put in place to provide all parties with more financial transparency.”