Worcester Warriors have been suspended from the Gallagher Premiership and Premiership Rugby Cup for the remainder of the 2022-23 season, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) has announced.The announcement comes just a day after Worcester Warriors' players and staff were released from the club following a high court hearing after the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) announced it had placed the club into administration.
Worcester Warriors confirmed discussions had been taking place with HMRC back in August over an unpaid tax bill worth £6 million.
How the Worcester Warriors crisis unfolded:
22 August: Club on brink of administration
Back in August, the club was on the brink of administration.
A winding up petition had been issued to the club by HM Revenues and Customs over an unpaid tax bill of £6 million.
The sum was loaned to Worcester during the pandemic to help with the rising cost of living and lost income from covid-19.
This led to discussions by club owners over the future of the club and a lot of uncertainty for players, staff and fans.
Worcester Warriors centre, Ollie Lawrence had tweeted: "I have nothing but respect for the whole players and staff for continuing to pitch up everyday with all this uncertainty…”
Worcester Warriors said that the players had been paid, after they were forced to cancel their pre-season fixture against Glasgow Warriors the following day.
However non-playing staff were told they would only receive a 'portion' of their August salaries.
"It pains us to have to do it this way, but non-playing staff will receive 65% of their monthly salary overnight or tomorrow. We are completing on a solution which would see the remainder paid within five working days"
If Worcester Warriors players had not been paid that day, it would have meant they could leave within fourteen days as the club would have been breaching contracts.
13 September: Co-owners agreed terms of sale
After a month of uncertainty, Worcester Warriors sparked hope for the players, staff and fans after co-owners agreed a terms of sale.
The Gallagher Premiership side released a statement which said: "Warriors can confirm that owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham have agreed the terms of the sale of the club to an interested party."
As of that afternoon (13 September), the terms were not yet signed and were being looked over by the legal teams.
If legally confirmed, a sale would mean the Warriors' first home game of the Premiership season would go ahead on Sunday (18 September) against Exeter Chiefs.
It was announced that Worcester Warriors would be suspended from all competitions unless club chiefs provided the Rugby Football Union with safety certification to stage matches at Sixways Stadium by midday on Friday 16 September.
English rugby chiefs had written to the Gallagher Premiership club, demanding proof of safety certificates to allow Warriors matches to continue.
Worcester's Premiership match against Exeter at Sixways on Sunday 18 September was now in doubt, unless Warriors owners produced the relevant documents by the deadline.
A statement released by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) said: "Worcester Warriors has met a midday deadline set by the RFU to provide assurances in relation to the receipt of a General Safety Certificate from the local authority and written confirmation of medical provision."
"Therefore, this weekend’s Gallagher Premiership and Allianz Cup matches will go ahead."
18 September: Warriors defeated by Exeter Chiefs
Worcester Warriors were defeated by the Exeter Chiefs.
The Warriors were set two deadlines amid a warning from the Rugby Football Union that they would be suspended from all competitions on Monday if they were unable to fulfil three criteria.
They had until 5pm on Monday 26 September to provide evidence of the required insurance cover in place, the funds to meet payroll and a meaningful plan to lift Sixways out of crisis.
Worcester were fighting for their future, burdened by debts totalling over £25million.
In addition, Worcester were required to prove by 12pm on Thursday 29 September the capability to stage Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership match against Newcastle after last Sunday’s first home game of the season only took place because of the efforts of staff, many of whom have not been paid their salaries for August.
Worcester Warriors director of Rugby Steve Diamond said his side would meet Newcastle on Saturday with the mindset that it is their last-game at Sixways.
Worcester Warriors was placed in administration after being suspended from all competitions immediately by the Rugby Football Union (RFU).
Owners of the club missed a 5pm deadline to "evidence insurance cover, availability of funds to meet the monthly payroll, and a credible plan to take the club forward," the RFU said.
Following its suspension from competition, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) announced it had placed the club into administration.
Administrators officially appointed to take over Worcester Warriors.
Begbies Traynor, a corporate rescue and recovery practice, will handle the club's situation.
The men's side could be sanctioned with either a points deduction or relegation due to administration.
Julie Palmer, regional managing partner from Begbies Traynor, who will be taking on the job of finding a buyer for Worcester Warriors, has confirmed to ITV News Central there "has been some strong expressions of interest already".
'We've got a period of weeks to find a credible buyer.'
"We've had some strong expressions of interest already, it may well be that there are other people now - who want to have those discussions with us. And I would urge those parties, they need to move quickly here, we've probably got a period of weeks initially to try and see if we've got a credible buyer."
"But to be credible, to be viable in terms of the long-term plans of the club and also to have funding in place."
30 September: Club faces potential exodus of players and staff after subsidiary body faces a winding-up order in the high court
The crisis-hit club is facing an exodus of players and staff after failing to meet this month's salary commitments.
Next Wednesday, the subsidiary body to which staff are contracted faces a winding-up order in the high court.
If WRFC Players Ltd is liquidated, the Gallagher Premiership club would automatically have no contracted players or staff and no option but to drop out of the top division.
WRFC Players Ltd is separate to WRFC Trading Ltd, which is subject to insolvency proceedings and for which the administrators are still seeking to find a buyer.
30 September: Owners apologises for 'emotional distress' caused
The owners have issued an apology after Worcester Warriors captain Ted Hill spoke to ITV News Central about the uncertainty that the players, staff and fans have faced over the recent months.