Worcester’s home fixture against Exeter on Sunday is in serious doubt over unpaid wages to staff and suppliers bills while the owners admitted on Wednesday night the sale of the club had not been completed.
The Warriors are due to stage their first home match of the season against the Chiefs but suppliers, who are required to run a matchday at Sixways, had set a deadline of 5pm on Wednesday to be paid. Senior figures at the club had separately called for the outstanding salaries of staff members – some of whom were yet to receive any of August’s wages – to be paid first.
It is understood the 5pm deadline came and went and if Worcester are unable to provide those payments in time to stage Sunday’s match and have to forfeit, Exeter would be awarded five points. The club’s owners, Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring, announced on Tuesday that they had agreed the terms of a sale, giving rise to optimism over the short- and long-term future, but on Wednesday revealed the deal remains in the hands of legal representatives from both sides.
Meanwhile the club’s director of rugby, Steve Diamond, said: “If people aren’t paid, and suppliers aren’t paid, then I don’t think, logistically, the game can go on. Let’s hope it’s not another false dawn. These people [buyers] have got to deliver and I think they’re in the last throes of that. If they’re not then I probably won’t be sat in front of you again. That’s the reality of it. If it turns out to be a cock-and-bull story then it’ll be out in the wash this weekend because we won’t be playing.”
On Tuesday, Whittingham and Goldring said they were working closely with the buyers, who remain unidentified, to secure an “immediate deposit” to cover the operational costs required to stage the weekend’s matches – Worcester’s women’s team are also due to host Harlequins on Saturday – as well the outstanding wages.
In a holding statement released on Wednesday night, the owners said: “Worcester Warriors are still awaiting final sign-off of the heads of term on the agreement of the sale of the club to a buyer.
“The agreement remains with the lawyers of the respective parties but signing of the heads of terms is required before the sale can be concluded. We appreciate that the delay is frustrating for our loyal staff, sponsors and supporters and we thank them for their continued patience in these challenging circumstances.”