Last Updated: 30/10/22 5:57pm
Worcester Warriors have entered into a preferred bidder agreement, while Wasps have been given a possible lifeline with an offer accepted from a group of Wasps Legends.
Wasps entered administration earlier this month and were subsequently suspended from the Premiership and relegated to the Championship, along with fellow cash-strapped club Worcester Warriors.
On Sunday, Worcester’s administrators confirmed the club have now entered into “a preferred bidder agreement with Atlas Worcester Warriors Rugby Club Limited”, a consortium led by Jim O’Toole – a former Worcester director – and James Sandford.
Wasps’ hopes of competing in the 2023-24 season have also now received a boost with administrators revealing a consortium led by club legends have been given the green light to proceed with purchasing the club.
“I am pleased to announce that we have entered into a preferred bidder agreement with Atlas Worcester Warriors Rugby Club Limited to acquire the rugby club together with the stadium and surrounding land,” Julie Palmer, one of the Joint Administrators of Worcester confirmed.
“The acquiring consortium represented by Jim O’Toole and James Sandford is fully committed to moving as quickly as possible to satisfy the criteria of RFU and PRL that they are fully funded to take the club forward with the ambition of returning to the Premiership as soon as possible.
“This remains a complex transaction with pressing deadlines but I am hopeful that all stakeholders will move with the requisite speed to rescue this club which has excellent facilities, strong community ties and huge potential. I would also like to record my heartfelt thanks to the dedicated and hardworking staff who have helped us to stage a programme of none rugby events in the coming weeks and provided invaluable assistance to the Joint Administrators.
“Details of the other parties involved in the consortium will be shared once the sale is concluded and no further comment will be made until that time.
“Separately I am pleased that Worcester Warrior women have been able to recommence playing and wish them the best for the remainder of the season.”
Earlier, Wasps confirmed their next steps will include hiring a number of senior coaching staff, with the aim of building a squad “capable of competing at the top-level next season”.
Andrew Sheridan, Joint Administrator and Partner at FRP Advisory, said: “The consortium knows that it still has to meet all of the RFU requirements, including the fit and proper owners test and the presentation of a three-to-five year business plan with supporting robust financial forecasts, and that this needs to completed as soon as is practical in order to be in a position to play next season.
“However, this deal is a significant step forward, and one that we all hope will allow Wasps Rugby to live on.
“We have informed the RFU about this development and the consortium is fully aware of the rugby creditors rules as set out in Regulation 5 by the RFU.
“We understand that the consortium will seek to work with the RFU, the RPA and their members to reach a reasonable conclusion on those matters.”
Separate discussions are ongoing in regards to Wasps Women’s Rugby and Wasps Netball and the Joint Administrators will provide further updates in due course.
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