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Worcester officially have new owners after four months in limbo

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by PA)

Worcester finally have new owners after the administrators struck a deal with the Atlas group headed up James Sandford and Jim O’Toole. The Warriors fell into disrepair under the previous ownership of Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham, playing their final Gallagher Premiership match in September before RFU suspension was quickly followed by an insolvency court making all players and staff free agents.


That led to a scattering of the playing squad that had been at Sixways under Steve Diamond, the director of rugby who later unveiled plans for a separate consortium that he would be involved in that was looking to rescue the club.

Begbies Traynor Group, who were the administrators appointed to find a buyer for Worcester, instead nominated Atlas as its preferred buyer. However, it took quite a while for the February 1 deal to finally be struck to save a club that is now likely to re-emerge next season at Championship level along with Wasps, the other Premiership outfit that financially collapsed at the start of the season.

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Atlas saw a bid rejected in December on the grounds of its refusal to meet conditions set by the RFU. Those conditions with English Rugby HQ are reportedly still unresolved, but contracts have now been exchanged between the administrators and the Atlas Worcester consortium for the takeover.

Posting on Twitter, Sandford said: “Feel honoured and privileged to be entrusted with a club that means so much to so many. We will be announcing a date soon for you all to come to Sixways to hear and see the plans for yourselves as we rebuild together. The real work starts now!”


The story that a deal had finally been closed to take Worcester out of administration was broken by regional BBC journalist Felicity Kvesic, the wife of back-rower Matt who was one of the Worcester players left without a job. The ex-England international went on to sign a deal that took him to Zebre Parma, the Italian URC franchise, for the rest of the 2022/23 campaign.


Kvesic has secured an exclusive interview with Sanderson that will air on BBC Hereford and Worcester radio later on Wednesday. She tweeted: “SOLD! EXCLUSIVE – It’s been over four months since the collapse of Worcester Warriors and today I can reveal that administrators Begbies Traynor Group have exchanged contracts for the sale with Atlas Worcester Warriors.”

Julie Palmer, a partner at Begbies Traynor, said: “Following a complex process, we are now able to progress the sale of Worcester Warriors and associated assets to Atlas Worcester Warriors Rugby Football Club Limited. We can confirm that contracts have been exchanged with Atlas.

“This is an exclusive contractual position and Atlas are committed to completing this transaction as early as possible and will share with both the rugby community and local community their plans for the club’s future. Due to the confidential nature of this transaction, we have been unable to provide this update any earlier but have appreciated the ongoing interest of supporters, staff and related organisations.

“We are delighted to see that there is a clear plan in place to deliver both rugby and many other exciting community-focused initiatives to Sixways, befitting the fabulous facilities and which will entertain the extensive support base.”



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