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Worcester statement escalates concerns over Sunday's home game

By PA
(Photo by PA)

The sale of Worcester to a new buyer has yet to be completed, escalating concerns over the club’s ability to stage their first home Gallagher Premiership game of the season on Sunday. While an agreement has been reached between co-owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham and the undisclosed investor, the Warriors confirmed in a statement that a contract has yet to be signed.

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“Worcester are still awaiting final sign-off of the heads of term on the agreement of the sale of the club to a buyer,” the statement read. “The agreement remains with the lawyers of the respective parties but the signing of the heads of terms is required before the sale can be concluded.

“We appreciate that the delay is frustrating for our loyal staff, sponsors and supporters and we thank them for their continued patience in these challenging circumstances.”

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Director of rugby Steve Diamond is confident Sunday’s Premiership clash with Exeter will go ahead while Worcester look to be rescued from debts of over £25million, including £6m in unpaid tax that could see them wound up.

However, the new buyer was supplying the finance to stage the Sixways match and the lack of progress made on Wednesday in signing the contract places it in serious doubt. “It seems that the two owners have managed to find an investor,” said Worcester boss Diamond ahead of the round two Premiership match.

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“We have got no real detail of who they are, it’s in strictest confidence. They have assured me that it is imminent. And they are rugby fans. As far as I’m concerned the game is on. I have been told nothing untoward. We are preparing as though the game is on. We’re on BT. All buttons are being pressed. All money is welcomed and the current owners are doing everything behind the scenes to ensure that the game goes on, which means staff being paid, suppliers being paid and casual workers coming in.”

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Diamond is among those in the Worcester rugby department not to have been paid for August, while staff on the non-rugby side of the business have received only 65 per cent of their salary for last month. The veteran director of rugby has been kept in the dark over the discussions with the new owners, claiming to know no more details than those revealed in the most recent statement.

“There is a lot of artillery been aimed at the owners, rightly or wrongly,” said Diamond. “They are genuinely trying to do the best for the situation and they know I have a lot of experience and I don’t need an arm around me in this situation.

“What I require and what the club, players, sponsors and supporters require, is for this to be done as quickly as possible. If people aren’t paid and suppliers aren’t paid then I don’t think logistically the game can go on.

“However, I’m pretty confident the game will go on from what information I’ve been given this morning [Wednesday]. So big things like stewarding, ambulances – all the sort of normal stuff which nobody sees – are in place. Catering is being put in place. I find it difficult to believe that statement would be made to the national press yesterday [Tuesday] if it can’t be fulfilled.”

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