Worcester director of rugby Steve Diamond said he was 100 per cent confident they would play a full Premiership season despite the club’s financial turmoil as they sought new owners and still faced a possible administration.
However, he also warned that every club in the league is operating at “precarious levels” and others are also likely to struggle to repay their debts. Worcester officials have said they will pay their players on Thursday and will soon pay part of the salaries of the rest of the club’s staff, warding off the immediate threat that they will not be able to play their scheduled first game against London Irish on September 29. ten.
They withdrew from a friendly against Glasgow on Friday as they dealt with a liquidation petition from the British tax authorities over unpaid taxes, estimated at more than 6 million pounds (6.91 million dollars), which led freezing of their accounts. The club have also received a £14million loan from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport during the COVID pandemic and are negotiating with potential new buyers. When asked if the club would be able to fill their fixtures, Diamond said: “I’m 100 per cent sure that will happen. We will definitely play the game at London Irish, we will go with our own coach, we will we won’t go cycling.”
“I’m confident that the hurdle we have to overcome (wage payments) will be paid off by the time we get back to Worcester, so I don’t anticipate that happening again,” said Diamond, who was speaking at the official launch of the Premiership season at Twickenham. “I’m pretty sure if we get through this the money will start coming in through the turnstiles. The two current owners are actively looking to refinance or sell it and I’ll let them.” to two potential organizations that would need me to work for them. What I will say is that the current owners and all of the staff, from cleaners and cooks to vendors and kit men, had no complaints.”
Worcester’s situation clouded the launch, with organizers keen to remind everyone of last season’s thrilling final when Leicester triumphed over Saracens with a late goal from Freddie Burns, but with Premiership CEO Simon Massie-Taylor forced instead to focus on the “elephant in the room”. “It’s been a very intense time the last few weeks,” he said. “But everyone involved in solving this challenge is working together. I would like to thank the players and the RPA (the players’ union) and it is clear that the payment of the players is in itself an important thing, because their rights in employment would be triggered at some point if they weren’t being paid but insurance is also key and that’s what we worked with them and RPA.
The Premiership as a whole has long struggled to balance the books, with relatively small revenues and television and sponsorship crowds, but huge squads of players. Sale’s former coach Diamond said the latest issue should be a ‘sudden awakening for players and other clubs’ that you ‘can’t just show up and get a living wage; there has to be some feedback on that .
“It’s probably the first time for some Worcester players that they have to be humble,” he said. “They’ve had big-name players and coaches, but they haven’t really delivered. They’ve finished in the bottom two once or twice in the last 20 years, with rock star budgets.” in Worcester – it’s not just in the last 12 months. They’ve always had that kind of equally popular but paying superstar money tag. Since I arrived, that has radically changed. It’s a hard-working group now, but they see how tricky it is.”
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