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Ex-Premiership title winner posts dire 'two more teams' warning

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Tom Jenkins/Getty Images)

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Retired Gallagher Premiership title winner Jim Hamilton has warned that the top-flight in England hasn’t felt the worst of the financial crisis currently affecting the game, claiming that two more clubs other than Wasps and Worcester are also hoovering on the brink.

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September 21 went into the history books as a dark Wednesday for the sport as Wasps revealed they have asked for an administrator to be appointed while the RFU have also set Worcester a deadline of 5pm next Monday to deliver guarantees or they will be suspended from playing.

Any club going onto administration faces automatic relegation from the Premiership and the only way Wasps might escape that punishment is if they convince the rugby authorities that their financial problems are more connected to the pandemic and not the £35million repayment due last May on the bond they took out in 2015.

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In the wake of Wednesday’s troubling developments at the Coventry Building Society Arena, journalist Chris Jones tweeted: “The only way Wasps can save themselves from relegation is by convincing the RFU their financial plight was due to things they couldn’t control. While the pandemic can be used, their £35m bond came long before the pandemic.”

This post piqued the interest of ex-Scotland lock Hamilton, who won Premiership titles with Leicester in 2007 and then with Saracens in 2015 and 2016. “This is what will happen,” he replied regarding the tweet about Wasps. “The RFU need to get to work ASAP. Two more teams are close to following suit as well as Worcester.”

Social media was swamped with concerns over Wasps and their immediate future in the game. One fan, Rob Sutton, tweeted: “Not ashamed to say I shed a tear when I read the Wasps news. Sure, the club has been poorly run for a while but it represents a huge part of my life. Going to matches forms a big part of social life. I’ve made great friendships through the club. For that to end would be awful.”

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Broadcaster Nick Mullins added: “Alarming times for all of us who love this sport and love the Prem. I’ve got all the time in the world for a load of people at Wasps – players, coaches, backroom staff and owner Derek Richardson, who has put his heart & soul into the club.”

Meanwhile, The Wasps Report Twitter account posted: “Wasps fans need to mobilise now like Worcester have. The club needs us like never before. Fear it might already be too late but if we get to the Northampton game on October 9, drop your excuses and get to the CBS Arena. Use it now or lose it forever.”

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