Worcester Warriors are on the brink of being thrown out of the Premiership after their joint administrator admitted a takeover was “unlikely” to be concluded in the coming days.
Julie Palmer, of Begbies Traynor, told Telegraph Sport she said the club’s suspension from playing to be made permanent by Premiership Rugby Limited (PRL) by the end of next week, sparking an exodus of players and staff.
Players and staff are to lose their jobs anyway on Wednesday, with the company that pays them, Worcester Players Ltd, being liquidated at the High Court.
Takeover talks for Worcester Trading Ltd will continue but Palmer conceded any transaction was “sufficiently complex” to prevent a deal being struck in time for the club to retake the field for their Premiership Rugby Cup fixture against Exeter Chiefs on October 19 and their Premiership game at Bristol three days later.
“The PRL, I think, want clarity in the next couple of weeks and I think it’s a sufficiently complex transaction, plus the added complication of Players going into liquidation today. I think that makes it unlikely, I would say, at the moment.
“But, on the positive side, I think there’s a sense of a model then to be built with a bit more time to look at it and if we are planning on relegation to the Championship next season then that’s probably a much lower funding ask in the first instance.”
That may be true but would also mean there would be no competitive rugby at Sixways for almost a year, forcing players and staff to find new jobs.
Even were a takeover to be completed in time for Worcester to see out the season, Palmer expected the Rugby Football Union to relegate them anyway at the end of the campaign.
Palmer had lobbied the RFU not to impose the sanction designed to punish clubs that enter administration, asking them to invoke a no-fault clause covering insolvencies triggered by the coronavirus crisis.
“We put in our appeal, as we were required to, within 24 hours,” she said.
“The RFU’s response to that appears to be – but not fully confirmed – that we’re on very thin ground in terms of that appeal.”
Worcester’s expulsion from the Premiership will trigger a fresh row over what happens to their lucrative P share.
That share entitles them to a percentage of top-flight revenues, including television money, even if they are in the Championship but their rivals could now seek to strip them of it.
Players and supporters began a social media campaign for Worcester to be allowed to keep the P share, using the slogan ‘Don’t take the P’.