Wasps' administration announced as 167 employees made redundant

The rugby club will now be relegated from the Gallagher Premiership. Credit: PA Images

Wasps have been placed into administration, the Gallagher Premiership club has announced.

Wasps Holdings Limited is the holding company for Wasps men’s and women’s rugby teams, and Wasps netball. The company has ceased trading with immediate effect.

The administrators FRP said that 167 employees have been made redundant, including all members of the playing squads and coaching staff.

Confirmation of the widely-expected move for Wasps Holdings Limited came in a statement from the administrators.

Wasps follow fellow Gallagher Premiership club Worcester Warriors into administration, with the league now operating as an 11-team competition.

Wasps were hit by by a winding-up order from HM Revenue and Customs for £2million in unpaid tax, and they also faced having to repay a £35m bond which had helped finance the club’s relocation to Coventry during 2014.

The administrators added that a small number of employees have been retained to support with the “orderly wind down of the company” and the operation of the Coventry Building Society Arena, which is unaffected by administration and continues to trade as normal.

Joint administrator Andrew Sheridan said: “This is a dark day for English rugby, and we know this will be devastating news for every Wasps player and member of staff, past players, sponsors, and their thousands of supporters throughout the world, and anyone who has ever been involved with this great club.

“Our immediate focus is on supporting those who have lost their jobs this morning.

“This will be an incredibly challenging time for every individual, and we will be assisting them in making claims to the redundancy payments service.

It is understood that employees received the news during meetings on Monday at Wasps’ training ground and the CBS Arena.

Wasps’ playing squad includes the likes of England internationals Joe Launchbury, Jack Willis, who was named in England’s Autumn Nations Series squad on Monday, Dan Robson and Brad Shields.

Wasps have been ever present in the Premiership since the competition began 25 years ago, winning it in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008.

They were also crowned European champions twice, in addition to achieving one European Challenge Cup triumph, and have fielded some of England’s most well-known players during rugby union’s professional era.

The 2003 World Cup-winning England squad featured five Wasps players – Lawrence Dallaglio, Josh Lewsey, Stuart Abbott, Simon Shaw and Joe Worsley.

Former Wasps fly-half Andy Goode tweeted: “Exceptionally sad day for @WaspsRugby as they go into administration. A club I loved my time with on and off the field. Thoughts with every player, member of staff and fan at the minute. Hopefully the club finds new investment and can bounce back asap.”

The company which owns the Coventry Building Society Arena is negotiating with potential investors to take over the running of the complex Credit: PA Images

Arena Coventry Limited (ACL) is not included in the administration of Wasps Holdings Limited which was announced today, and has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators, a move which will give two weeks to be able to secure new owners for the venue.

A spokesperson for ACL said: “The arena is a profitable standalone business with huge potential and therefore is attracting strong interest from a number of parties. We have filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators and we will be aiming to use this period to complete a deal with a venue operator.

“It would also allow the arena to continue to generate funds through the exhibition, conference and hotel business and would also mean the Rugby League World Cup game and Coventry City fixtures will go ahead as planned, which, we believe, is in everyone’s interest.

“The arena is very much a key economic driver for the region and we are hopeful that we can conclude a deal to ensure its future. Time is exceedingly tight and talks are continuing around the clock so we can reach a suitable deal.”

What happens if you're a season ticket or match ticket holder?

The administrators have confirmed all future Wasps matches are currently cancelled and therefore match tickets, season tickets and hospitality packages cannot be honoured. 

Wasps is unable to provide any refunds.

Administrators have urged ticket holders: "If you paid by credit or debit card, you may be able to get your money back by claiming a refund from your card issuer."

Does Wasps' administration affect events at the arena in Coventry?

The only events which are cancelled as the result of the administration are Wasps matches. The administration of Wasps does not impact the following:

  • Coventry City FC ticket holders and hospitality packages

  • Rugby League World Cup ticket holders and hospitality packages

  • Conference and event bookings

  • Hotel bookings

  • Music event ticket holders

The announcement comes just days after the team announced it was pulling out of a Premiership Rugby game against Exeter on Saturday (15 October).

The club had said it was "likely that they will enter into administration in the coming days" after it became clear a solution to their financial woes could not be found.

It had previously played down talks of going into administration, but last week's announcement signaled that the club has run out of cash.