Worcester Warriors to start Premiership season but future of crisis-stricken club remains uncertain

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Worcester in crisis: The Warriors’ future remains subject to doubt  (PA)
Worcester in crisis: The Warriors’ future remains subject to doubt (PA)

The new season of Premiership Rugby is set to begin as scheduled with 13 teams next weekend, but league boss Simon Massie-Taylor admits that crisis club Worcester Warriors are “not out of the woods yet”.

Worcester were served a winding up petition by HMRC over unpaid tax, casting doubt over whether they would be able to start the season. Players were yet to be paid on Thursday morning, but that was set to be resolved later in the day.

“The club confirmed last night they could make payroll,” said Massie-Taylor at the launch of the new Premiership season. “They have given assurances that players will be paid this month.

“That takes us to the beginning of the season, Worcester are able to take the pitch on the 10th and start the season. But they are not out of the woods yet, let’s be frank about that. The next month or so is key for them in finding a long-term solution for the club.

"The owners are very confident of that and taking the risk on payroll this month is a signal of that confidence. They are working through that at the moment.

“That’s where we are. A 13-team league, Worcester Warriors play on the 10th against London Irish.”

While there had been contingency plans put in place, they will not be used at this stage.

“They [the RFU] are satisfied that the team is able to enter into the league, but the next month or so, the next payroll is the outstanding matter,” said Massie-Taylor.

“There was contingency planning in the background if Worcester weren’t able to take the field at the start of the season but as it is the structure remains the same.”