Worcester Warriors players left in contract limbo

Following the suspension of Worcester Warriors from all competitions on Monday, its players are now left in the balance as they are unable to terminate contracts.

WRFC Players Ltd, which holds the contracts for Warriors’ players, is not currently in administration, meaning regardless of the suspension, players are unable to terminate their contracts and move elsewhere.

Warriors failed to meet a 5pm deadline to prove it had a credible plan to support the club alongside appropriate insurance and funds to make payroll.

It’s estimated the club is in £25m debt, alongside a £6m winding-up tax bill with HMRC.

A statement from the RPA reads: “Our members are currently in a position where WRFC Players Ltd, the company holding their contracts, is not in administration, whilst WRFC Trading Ltd (in administration) has entered the administration process.

“This situation leaves the players in a no-win scenario, with payday looming, the club suspended from competition, a winding up petition due to be heard next week and no ability to terminate their contract if they wish to pursue opportunities elsewhere.

“The directors of WRFC Players Limited, and as required the administrators of WRFC Trading Ltd (in administration), must provide clarity on what the proposed strategy is for WRFC Players Ltd as, without the players, there seems no viable long-term future for Worcester Warriors.

Julie Palmer, Julian Pitts and Andrew Hook of Begbies Traynor have now been appointed as Joint Administrators over WRFC Trading Ltd. In addition, they were appointed as Receivers over Sixways Stadium.

WRFC Players Ltd is a subsidiary of WRFC Trading Limited. Begbies Traynor have not been instructed to advise WRFC Players Ltd.

In a statement the administrators said: “To the extent that employees of the club have a contract of employment with WRFC Trading Limited we will engage with them directly as to next steps.

“Rugby players and other staff members are employed by WRFC Players Limited which is not subject to insolvency proceedings but has been served with a winding up petition from HMRC. The hearing date is on 5 October 2022.
“We recognise that this situation may be difficult to understand for those involved but where we are able to we will provide further information to the employees of both WRFC Trading Ltd and WRFC Players Ltd affected by this situation”.

Warriors owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham said: “We are grateful to DCMS and Sport England as the Covid19 loan Programme Manager for accepting our request to place the club into administration.

“Both the club and DCMS will continue to co-ordinate efforts to find a rescue for the club if there is any possibility of it being saved.

“The administrators will assess any rescue options for some or all of the business as and when offers are made, while ensuring public funds are protected.”