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'All parties remain concerned': Worcester given two RFU deadlines

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by PA)

The continued participation of Worcester in the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership has been thrown into yet more doubt after the RFU issued more deadlines regarding assurances over ground safety, funding and the proposed takeover at the club.

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English rugby’s governing body originally issued a deadline last week regarding health and safety assurances surrounding the Worcester home match versus Exeter at Sixways, a deadline that was passed in time for permission to be granted and the fixture was played as scheduled.

However, with Worcester set to stage their second home match in the Premiership this Saturday when Newcastle are due to visit, the RFU has now set the club a fresh deadline of noon on Thursday to provide the required information or that match will not be allowed to go ahead.

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A second deadline of 5pm next Monday has also been set by the RFU regarding insurance cover and the ability of Worcester to meet the September payroll.

A statement read: “The RFU, Premiership Rugby and DCMS have been seeking assurances from the Worcester Warriors owners regarding funding and potential new ownership proposals for several weeks.

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“We are grateful to the staff at Worcester Warriors for their hard work in being able to provide the required information to allow the games to go ahead last weekend and in the week ahead. The RFU has set the same conditions for the matches this weekend to go ahead as were in place for the previous weekend. These must be met by noon on Thursday, September 22, as, in particular, Newcastle Falcons will be travelling on Friday, September 23.

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“However, all parties remain concerned that the lack of available funds will not allow the club to be sustainable over the long term. In particular, the RFU is aware that insurance cover is only in place until midnight on Monday, September 26.

“Therefore, the RFU has written to Worcester Warriors to confirm they will be suspended from all competitions, including the Gallagher Premiership, Allianz Premier 15s and Allianz Cup if the club cannot evidence insurance cover in place, availability of funds to meet the monthly payroll, and a credible plan to take the club forward by 5pm on September 26.”

Worcester only eventually announced a squad for this Wednesday night’s Premiership Rugby Cup match at Gloucester at 10am on Wednesday that contained just 22 players – one man short as there was no No19 on the bench. It included 41-year-old Worcester club coach Jonny Goodridge and retired ex-player Mat Gilbert being named on the bench in a squad involving five guest players.

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