RFU respond to Wasps and Worcester's appeal against relegation - Ruck

RFU respond to Wasps and Worcester’s appeal against relegation

Worcester Warriors and Wasps have both had their appeals against relegation from the Premiership dismissed by the Rugby Football Union.

The applications were made by the respective administrators for both Wasps Holdings Limited and WRFC Trading Limited, the main operating entities of the respective clubs.


“It is acknowledged that Covid did have a substantial financial effect on both WRFC Trading Limited and WRFC Players Limited,” the RFU report said. 

“The insolvency event in relation to WRFC Players Limited was a direct result, and the insolvency event of WRFC Trading Limited was at least indirectly a result of, winding up petitions filed by HMRC.

“These petitions resulted from a failure of the club to meet its ‘time to pay’ arrangements with HMRC. 

“Despite several requests, the RFU has not been provided with any correspondence between the club and HMRC in relation to this. Therefore, the RFU cannot be satisfied there is no fault by the club.

“More broadly, the evidence that has been provided demonstrates a business model which did appear to be perpetually funded by debt, with no apparent attempt (except anecdotally in the last months) to execute the wider business plan and develop the land around Sixways which would have ultimately improved the chances of creating a self-sustaining model. 

“While there may be a possibility that the insolvency events may not have happened were it not for the Covid pandemic, that is not the same as to say there was no fault by the club. 

“The directors of the club had allowed the club to be in such a precarious position that a shock such as Covid, the challenging debt markets or another external event would have created a real and increased likelihood of an insolvency event happening.”


RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said: “We are all deeply concerned by the insolvency of Worcester Warriors and Wasps.

“We appreciate this decision will be disappointing for the clubs and their fans, but it’s clear from the club financial viability group’s investigation that there were factors beyond Covid that resulted in the clubs entering insolvency. 

“This has reinforced the need for greater financial transparency between clubs, Premiership Rugby and the RFU to enable both organisations to have better visibility of how these businesses are run.”


#13. Exeter Chiefs – £13m

#12. Gloucester – £27m

#11. Northampton Saints £26.5m

#10. Worcester Warriors – £26.5m

Worcester Warriors flags fly in support of the club as they go through difficult times. during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Match between Worcester Warriors and Exeter Chiefs at Sixways on 18 Sept 2022 Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK