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Welsh rugby enveloped in its latest existential crisis

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Player exodus expected after Worcester fail to pay September wages

(Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Crisis club Worcester are facing an exodus of players and staff after failing to meet this month’s salary commitments. Contracted personnel were due to be paid on Friday but the PA news agency understands this has not happened, meaning staff are entitled to move elsewhere after a statutory two-week notice period.


In a further blow to Worcester’s hopes of overturning their current suspension from competitions, the subsidiary body to which staff are contracted faces a winding-up order in the High Court next Wednesday. If WRFC Players Ltd is liquidated, the Gallagher Premiership club would automatically have no contracted players or staff and seemingly no option but to drop out of the top division.

WRFC Players Ltd is separate from WRFC Trading Ltd, which is subject to insolvency proceedings and for which the administrators are still seeking to find a buyer. Worcester’s debts total more than £25million, including at least £6m in unpaid tax, while owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham have been accused of asset-stripping the club.

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The club failed to meet a Rugby Football Union deadline on Monday requesting proof of insurance cover and funding for the club’s monthly payroll, which resulted in them being suspended from all competitions and this Saturday’s away match against Gloucester being cancelled. Two consortiums, one involving former Worcester chief executive Jim O’Toole, are understood to have expressed interest in buying the club out of administration.

But the impending exodus of players and staff may make a purchase less appealing, with no means to resume playing even if the club’s current suspension is lifted.


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