Sixways stadium
Worcester have never finished higher than eighth in their 16-year Premiership history

Worcester Warriors say a letter suggesting the club had been put into administration was sent out in error by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The Premiership club are still waiting to finalise a deal with a new investor.

Head of terms over the sale of Worcester were agreed on Tuesday.

Worcester’s future has been in doubt for weeks since they revealed they were in dialogue with HMRC about a winding-up petition over a £6m unpaid tax bill on 17 August. Total debts are reported to total £25m.

This week’s announcement by owners Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring that they had “agreed” a deal with an investor that would save the club from administration gave fresh hope.

But 24 hours later, the club were still waiting for the “final sign-off”. Warriors said on Wednesday that the agreement was “with the lawyers of the respective parties but signing of the heads of terms is required before the sale can be concluded”.

The emergence of the letter from DCMS on Thursday via social media again seemed to throw doubt on the club’s future before Warriors moved to dismiss any speculation.

“This is not true,” the club said. “The statement was sent out in error by DCMS who have apologised for their mistake and the distress and anxiety it has caused to our staff and suppliers at what is already an extremely stressful time.

“As we stated yesterday, we are awaiting the signing of heads of terms on an agreement with a buyer which would secure the long-term future of the club.”

The DCMS said that the department “continues to work tirelessly with Warriors, the Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby on options around their future survival”.

Having started their Premiership season with defeat at London Irish, Warriors are due to play Exeter in their first home game of the campaign on Sunday.

But with no confirmation of the sale of the club, doubts remain whether all the necessary finances will be in place in time for it to go ahead.

Warriors director of rugby Steve Diamond told BBC Hereford & Worcester the new investors “had to deliver” and that he had been told by the owners that they “were in the last throws of that”.

‘A lot of compassion’ for Worcester’s staff and players

Exeter are scheduled to come to Sixways having beaten Premiership champions Leicester in their opening game and Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter said they are preparing to play the game.

“Obviously there’s been a lot in the press that the game’s in doubt and there doesn’t seem to be a concrete agreement yet on people being paid who are required to put the game on,” he told BBC Sport.

“That’s out of our hands. Let’s remember a week ago people were saying Worcester wouldn’t play their first game and they did. I hope the game’s on.”

Baxter added: “Without thinking about the players, there are tens of people who are involved in running a rugby club and to think their livelihoods could go through no fault of their own is tough.

“We spent a lot of time talking about making the families of the players feel part of it and, if you’re doing that as most Premiership clubs are, it does become like an extended family and you do feel for those players – so I completely understand what it must feel like for those involved there now.

“They’ve got bills to pay. There’s a lot of compassion for that.”


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