Worcester Warriors: Former owner Cecil Duckworth 'would be devastated' with club's situation

Cecil Duckworth was the executive chairman of Rugby Union team Worcester Warriors Credit: PA

The family of former Worcester Warriors owner Cecil Duckworth say he would be "devastated" by the Gallagher Premiership club’s financial predicament.

Warriors are reportedly on the verge of administration following a winding-up petition over unpaid tax.

The club’s owners, Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham, say they are "working through a number of options" and remain in ongoing discussions with HM Revenue and Customs, Premiership Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Warriors player Chris Pennell posted a statement from Duckworth’s family on social media on Tuesday which read: "The Duckworth family are very saddened by the recent news at Worcester Warriors."

"Cecil and others spent many years building up the rugby club and we know he would be devastated by the events which are unfolding.

"Our thoughts are with the staff and players."

England centre Ollie Lawrence said on Monday the legacy of former owner Duckworth was "close to being tarnished".

Duckworth, who died aged 83 in 2020, transformed Worcester into a Premiership side during a long association with the club.

Worcester Warriors are scheduled to play London Irish on 10 September. Credit: PA Images

Worcester supporter Stu Pickering, who is the head of Olympic performance support at the English Institute of Sport, has started a GoFundMe to raise funds for low-paid members of staff at the club.

Shortly after midday on Tuesday, £1,420 had been pledged towards a goal of £10,000.

On Monday, Goldring and Whittingham released a statement in response to "much speculation and rumour circulating in the media and among our supporters” about the future of the club."

"Over the past week a lot of work has been done away from the media spotlight to try to navigate the club through the challenges that we currently face,” the statement read.

"That work continues, discussions are ongoing and we are reviewing the options available to the club."

"We continue to work closely with HMRC, Premiership Rugby, the RFU and DCMS to find the best solution to the situation. We are very grateful for the support these organisations have shown to the club.

"We are now working through a number of options with our advisers.

"These include solutions for keeping rugby at Sixways and we will communicate further as soon as a decision has been finalised."

Worcester MP Robin Walker said he is "deeply concerned" about the situation and has called for an urgent meeting with local councils to "ensure that any future proposals for the club and its grounds have the interests of community and the sport at its heart."

In a statement, Walker added: "It is important that we do all we can to try to save the club, but even in the unlooked-for event of some form of administration, then local residents need to have confidence that the club’s assets are used for sporting and community value, and not sold off for profit.

"The late Cecil Duckworth worked tirelessly to ensure this once humble club became a competitive outfit at the top of English rugby and I agree with his family that it is vital we all work to protect his legacy."