Four Worcestershire MPs have called for crisis-hit Gallagher Premiership club Worcester Warriors to be placed in administration.
HM Revenue & Customs have frozen Warriors’ finances in their pursuit of unpaid tax, although it is understood that Worcester players have now been paid following an initial delay.
Premiership Rugby, meanwhile, has cleared Worcester to begin their league campaign as scheduled against London Irish on Saturday.
Talks are ongoing with two possible buyers for the club, and despite large debts that have built up in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the prospect of gate receipts has assisted Worcester’s immediate financial outlook.
Worcestershire MPs Robin Walker, Harriett Baldwin, Rachel Maclean and Mark Garnier, though, have urged the Department for Culture Media and Sport to put Warriors in administration.
In a joint statement, the MPs said: “Over the last week, staff and players at the club have faced significant uncertainty with deadlines for payroll missed and repeated assurances broken.
“Mobile phones have stopped working and cars have been taken away from players. Events due to take place at Sixways have had to be cancelled as suppliers and caterers have not been paid on time.
— Worcester Warriors (@WorcsWarriors) September 3, 2022
“Whilst there does appear to be interest in new investors coming into the club, the interested parties have been clear that they see the best hope of securing its future being a purchase via an administrator.
“As the largest of the club’s debts is owed to the Government via Sport England, the MPs are calling for the DCMS to trigger an administration as swiftly as possible.
“The hope is that this can then result in a quick turnaround with new owners bringing capital into the club in time for the Premiership season.”
Walker, meanwhile, added: “Enough is enough. I have been determined to secure the future of the Warriors, who are a huge asset to our city and county.
“I wanted to give every opportunity for a solution to be found which would avoid the club going into administration, but it is now clear that this is not in sight.
“We have just a week before the start of the professional rugby season and the first Premiership fixtures. I believe the best solution for players, staff and the club itself is rapid action on the part of the DCMS.
“We are, together, calling on them to step in and to do everything they can to secure the club, the stadium and its property assets.
“I am hopeful that the proposals we have had for new investment and new owners can move forward rapidly, and we are calling on Premiership Rugby and the RFU (Rugby Football Union) to facilitate any option which allows the club to stay and play in the top flight.
“It is clear to us now, after all the chaos and worry of the last week, that the best route to that is now through administration.”