Worcester Warriors: MP Robin Walker to ask DCMS to sanction putting club into administration

Sixways Stadium
Warriors are facing a court appearance over a winding-up petition over £6m of unpaid tax

Worcester MP Robin Walker will call on the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to sanction putting Worcester Warriors into administration.

Walker will ask the government to intervene at the beleaguered Premiership club when he addresses Parliament at 17:00 BST on Thursday.

Saturday’s visit of Newcastle will go ahead after the Rugby Football Union was satisfied over safety issues.

Warriors also face an RFU funding ultimatum by 17:00 BST on Monday.

“Enough is enough,” Walker, whose constituency contains Warriors’ Sixways Stadium, told BBC Hereford & Worcester.

“We need to see action taken to save this club to make sure people are properly paid. We need to make sure they have proper support.

“They don’t seem to be getting that from the owners at the moment.”

Many of the club’s non-playing staff have only been paid 65% of their August salaries, while others have not received any at all.

Last Sunday’s opening home game against Exeter eventually went ahead with a reduced capacity after the club secured a safety certificate, with many staff working for free to ensure the match was played.

The RFU issued their ultimatums on Wednesday, wanting proof by 12:00 BST on Thursday that Saturday’s Premiership game with Newcastle could be played after setting “the same conditions for the matches this weekend to go ahead as were in place for the previous weekend”.

The governing body received that assurance saying Warriors had “met all the conditions” and confirmed the match against the Falcons will go ahead at Sixways as planned.

They also want to see a “credible” financial plan for moving the club forward by 17:00 BST on Monday or will suspend Warriors’ men’s and women’s teams from “all competitions”.

Walker said he wants the government to “trigger that process of administration”, adding it is “the best way to save the club.”

Five Worcestershire MPs – including Walker – previously called for the club to go into administration, something that the club’s owners Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring said would have “disastrous implications”.

‘Now is the time to act’

Whittingham and Goldring announced they had agreed a deal to sell the club on 13 September but have failed to issue any confirmation since then.

Former Warriors chief executive Jim O’Toole is leading a consortium that wants to take over the club but any deal is dependent on the club entering administration.

“Local MPs and I called for a process of administration to take the club forward its very clear there are investors who are interested in moving into the club and supporting it,” Walker said.

“But they have been clear they think only through administration will that happen.

“The DCMS has always said their concern about administration is that it could lead to the club being wound up and clearly nobody wants that.

“This is a huge community asset. It is many people’s livelihoods. People have been working their guts out to put games on.

“We all want to see the club saved and want to see the whole club and all the property around it is kept together and I want to make the case to the DCMS that now is the time to act.”

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