Worcester Warriors future in doubt after RFU reject Championship application

Worcester Warriors will not join Wasps in the Championship at this stage. Credit: PA

The future of Worcester Warriors Rugby Club is in further doubt after the Rugby Football Union (RFU) rejected a proposed takeover bid.

Wasps will take their place in the Championship next season after their takeover was approved by the Rugby Football Union, but Worcester will not be joining them unless they find new buyers.

Atlas Worcester Warriors Rugby Club Ltd, the consortium led by the club’s former chief executive Jim O’Toole, saw takeover its bid rejected on the grounds of its refusal to meet the conditions set by the RFU.

The English game’s governing body said it will instead work with Worcester’s administrator Begbies Traynor to enable alternative bids in the hope of preserving professional rugby at Sixways.

Wasps and Worcester entered administration earlier in the season, resulting in their expulsion from the Gallagher Premiership. If approved by the RFU, any new buyers would be able to relaunch the club in the second tier Championship, thereby ensuring their survival as professional entities.

Former Worcester Warriors Director of Rugby Steve Diamond, who has launched a bid to rescue the club from administration. Credit: PA

The consortium seeking to buy Wasps, which includes members of Wasps Legends, were given the green light subject to several conditions being met.

However, Worcester’s buyers said they were unwilling to meet the conditions requested of them, including not disposing of the land around the stadium and swift payment of rugby creditors.

A RFU statement read: “The RFU Board was also not satisfied with the information provided, in particular relating to the financial position of the buyer and their ability to continue to fund the club and to deliver on the business plan provided which included significant development at the Sixways site.“

“We understand that the decision will not be the news that Worcester’s former staff, players and fans will want to hear, but the best long-term interests of the club and rugby in Worcester is our key priority,” RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said.