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Worcester statement: HMRC winding-up petition issued against club

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Worcester have insisted it is business as usual at Sixways despite Wednesday’s shock revelation that the Gallagher Premiership club was issued with a winding-up petition from the HM Revenue and Customs just weeks before the start of the new 2022/23 season in England.

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The issue in question is an outstanding tax amount owed by the club to HMRC and the unpaid Worcester bill has now been made public with the countdown towards their opening Premiership game of the season – against London Irish on September 10.

A club statement read: “Worcester Warriors, along with many other businesses and most sports clubs have found the past two years extremely challenging owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise in the cost of living. We retained our staff but lost income during the various lockdowns during which the overwhelming majority of matches were played behind closed doors.

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“We returned to normal operations twelve months ago carrying a tax liability to HMRC. From the outset, we have worked closely and openly with HMRC on a plan to clear these liabilities and a time-to-pay (TTP) arrangement has been in place.

“The club owners and board are fully committed to preserving top-flight professional rugby in Worcester and have been working on solutions to secure the financial future of Worcester Warriors and to pay the outstanding tax owed to HMRC.

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“A solution, which would secure the long-term future of the club, has been approved. Unfortunately, there have been unavoidable delays beyond the club’s control to the final tasks required to complete the funding. Having kept HMRC fully apprised of the situation we are disappointed that they have taken the decision to issue a winding-up petition. The club’s directors are in continuing dialogue with HMRC in an attempt to find a speedy and satisfactory resolution.

“We have also been in communication with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Sport England, Premiership Rugby and the RFU (Rugby Football Union) regarding this matter.”

A Worcester spokesperson later added said: “The RFU and Premiership Rugby have been made aware that a winding up petition has been filed by HMRC against Worcester Warriors.  Premiership Rugby and the RFU have been in regular contact with Worcester Warriors’ shareholders and management.

“Both parties have supported the club through the financial challenges of the last few years. We appreciate that this is unsettling for the players, the employees, the fans, and the community in Worcester and we will continue to work with all stakeholders to establish the appropriate next steps.”

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