Collapsed Worcester Warriors and Wasps failed by rugby's governing bodies according to MPs report

Wasps and Warriors rugby clubs both collapsed last year Credit: PA

It's been a bad 6 months for professional rugby in the West Midlands, but today's report from MPs really sticks the boot in. 

  • The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee report called the demise of Wasps and Worcester a 'stain of the reputation of the RFU' (Rugby Football Union)

  • They said the financial situation of clubs is 'unsustainable'

  • Wasps move to Coventry was disastrous whilst Worcester had unscrupulous owners who asset stripped the club.

As far as reports go, it's a damning indictment of how clubs and the game is run. 

As blunt as it was, for those in the game, it will come as little surprise. For two historic names to fail so catastrophically in the same year tells you all you need to know. Rugby, unlike its cousin football, is not awash with money. The comparisons between the Premier League and The Premiership start and end with the name. 

And how's this for a start, rugby became professional in the mid 90's, allowing players to be paid. Football allowed it in the 80s- the 1880's that is...

The point is that like many other sports, it can't compete financially and ambition is often overstretched. Today's DCMS report said that future plans were built on 'complacent belief'. A hard tackle from MPs who clearly feel change is needed. 

Credit: ITV News Central

But whilst the RFU and PRL were criticised, so too the way Wasps and Worcester Warriors were run. Warriors previous owners have denied they asset stripped the club in a statement given to ITV Central, but the last twelve months must lead to change if Rugby is to survive. 

How might this happen? At club level, is diversification the key?

Former Chief Exec Jim O'Toole is one of those leading a takeover. It involves building a hotel, conference and exhibition facilities and better engagement with the community. According to Jim, these are badly needed in the city of Worcester and perhaps a club here now wouldn't be sustainable without them.

But that interest from abroad may also benefit the game. Jim told me that British Isles owners had had their chance and perhaps now it was time for foreign investment to get involved- though his bid is backed by American investors.

Whoever wins the bid to takeover Worcester would most likely find a club in the Championship and a game in need of a new direction. O'Tool estimates it would take £25 million pounds alone just to get Warriors back to the Premiership, showing that even in rugby, where money is scarce, success does not come cheap.