Worcester warning – Rugby manager Steve Diamond says the future of the cash-strapped Premier League club is in the balance.
London (AFP) – Worcester’s rugby union manager Steve Diamond said the cash-strapped rugby union club still faced an uncertain future after their grueling 36-21 home defeat to Exeter in the Premier League on Sunday.
Worcester’s debt has risen to 25 million pounds ($28 million), and this weekend’s game only got the green light on Friday after the Warriors just met the deadline to submit a safety certificate for matches at Sixways Stadium.
Many of Worcester’s players and staff received just 65 percent of their August pay, a point acknowledged by many of the back team members who made up the honor guard for a Warriors team that took to the field in front of a limited crowd of 5,000.
Jason Whittingham, co-owner of Wooster, issued another statement on Sunday saying he believes the club will have new owners – and investments – within the next 48 hours.
But Diamond, speaking after Sunday’s game, said: “I don’t know how long we can continue this because I have been informed that negotiations are taking place behind the scenes but I am not a party to them.”
– ‘I don’t know how long we can go on’ –
Diamond added: “There is a limit to the number of times players or employees can take advantage of goodwill without being paid, and it is impossible for anyone to work without any internet and heating as winter approaches.”
The former Sale boss, while saying the Midlands club Worcester hope to make their game against Gloucester on Wednesday, cautioned the Warriors that they are trying to impress the UK’s financial authorities.
“Realistically, I don’t know how long we can continue to order the shutdown scheduled for late September, a line has to be drawn somewhere,” he said.
Despite all the hardships off the field, Worcester were able to compete against Exeter before the double winner in 2020 outplayed the home side by five to three attempts.
But the players still had to go to the field in last season’s clothes and the match continued only after several staff members worked for free.
Exeter No 8 Richard Capstick scored two attempts, with Olly Woodburn, Jack Maunder and Joe Simmonds, who netted four conversions and a penalty, also going for the visitors.
Alex Hurrell, Gareth Simpson and Olly Lawrence scored goals for Worcester, with two of those goals converted by Owen Williams and Billy Searle to add goal points to the other.
“What’s going on in the background is mentally difficult but hopefully it will be sorted out,” said Worcester captain Francois Venter. “We still don’t know the position but it would be very disappointing if this was our last game on this pitch.”
The victory saw Exeter advance to second in the table after two rounds, a point off the early sale.
But that result, despite a huge improvement in their 45-14 away loss to London Irish last week, left Worcester at the bottom of the 13-team standings still looking for its first points of the 2022-23 season.