‘I never thought it would get to this’: Worcester Warriors director of rugby laments his club’s financial situation and compares it to ‘the death of a dog’, as they prepare for a last match before a likely suspension from all competitions
- There is a strong chance Worcester Warriors could go into administration
- They need to prove they have the funds to remain viable by the end of Monday
- Worcester are facing £30m debts and are without their main source of income
- Steve Diamond said the club had been allowed to ‘walk itself to the graveyard’
Steve Diamond last night fumed that Worcester had been allowed to ‘walk itself to the graveyard’ as he urged his players to treat today’s tie with Newcastle as if it is their last game at Sixways.
The Warriors will fulfil the fixture then have a squad night out, before bracing themselves to be suspended from all competitions. Worcester have until 5pm on Monday to satisfy the RFU that they have the funds and plans to remain viable, but there is a strong chance they will go into administration that day.
‘We are in limbo from Monday,’ said Diamond, the club’s director of rugby. ‘We have been in near-purgatory for a while and it is starting to come to a head. I am going to have a look at some places in the sun in the next fortnight if we are suspended. I might give the players time off, but whether they can afford to go on holiday is another matter.
Steve Diamond compared Worcester’s financial battle to the ‘death of a dog’
‘I don’t know how it has got to this. It is sad and diabolical that it has been allowed to walk itself to the graveyard, virtually. I never thought it would get to this.
‘It’s like the death of a dog — you don’t want the poor thing to go to the vet on its last legs but you have to take it.
‘Administration could be a saviour but it’s also a restructure and it’s not as it was. It can’t stay as it was because it’s failed. If there’s any light at the end of the tunnel it’s not bright.’
Meanwhile, RFU and Premiership Rugby sources have disclosed that they were not informed about the asset-stripping which took place at Worcester last month — a revelation that will raise fresh concerns about the governance of a sport facing financial meltdown.
Worcester will have to prove they have the funds to remain viable by the end of Monday
Worcester’s financial problems have been exacerbated by an extraordinary change to their tenancy at Sixways Stadium, revealed by Sportsmail this week, with owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham creating a new company and gifting it all of the club’s match-day, hospitality and sponsorship income.
It left a club already saddled with £30million debts without their main sources of income, other than TV and season-ticket revenue. The £15m loan which Worcester received from Sport England last year was also a private matter between the Government and the club, with the rugby authorities not involved in the discussions.
In addition to the asset-stripping of Sixways Stadium, Goldring and Whittingham borrowed £500,000 from former Worcester owner Cecil Duckworth as he was dying of cancer two years ago, which has not been repaid to his family.