Administrators have begun the task of trying to find a buyer for Worcester Warriors.
Independent insolvency advisers Begbies Traynor are on site at Warriors’ Sixways Stadium and have already met with key operational staff.
Julie Palmer, who is lead administrator on the case, says she has been left “superbly impressed” by Worcester’s facilities and staff professionalism.
Worcester were on Monday suspended from all competitions and placed into administration, which could also mean relegation.
Warriors failed to meet a Rugby Football Union deadline requesting proof of insurance cover and funding for the club’s monthly payroll.
Twickenham bosses also wanted evidence of a “credible plan to take the club forward,” but they had no response.
Worcester’s debts total more than than £25million, including at least £6m in unpaid tax. Owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham have been accused of asset-stripping the club.
The Warriors’ Gallagher Premiership game at Gloucester on Saturday is off, with their next fixture scheduled at home to Harlequins on October 8.
“The focus is to accelerate conversations with interested parties, try and identify somebody who is able to move quickly, is credible in terms of funding and their credibility with the RFU that they would pass the fit and proper person test,” Palmer told the PA news agency.
“The (Harlequins) match remains under consideration, but I guess somebody would have to move really quickly in terms of funding and satisfying the RFU if that was to happen.
“If over a period of weeks we get someone who is credible into a position where it looks like it might go forward, then hopefully the RFU would work with us to extend those deadlines, if they need extending, to get a deal over the line.
“The RFU have got their own timelines they need to work with in terms of fit and proper person and making sure the plan is credible from their point of view.”
Palmer says it is too early in the administration process to suggest how matters might work out.
But she added: “I am an optimistic person by nature. I have always got my restructuring hat on to see if we can find a rescue mechanism.
“We will be working as hard as we possibly can to try and achieve that.
“I am superbly impressed by the quality of the stadium, the facilities and the professionalism of the staff.
“I am hoping that anybody who is thinking of buying this would be similarly impressed. There is a really good club here.”
Two consortiums are so far understood to have expressed interest in buying the club out of administration.
Gloucester head coach George Skivington, meanwhile, has sympathised with Worcester over the “horrendous” situation Warriors find themselves in.
It is understood Gloucester will lose around £400,000 as a result of the Kingsholm clash against Worcester not taking place.
“The cost is very big to the club,” Skivington said.
“It’s not on the level that Worcester are going through, but on a personal level for the club, these losses are big for us.
“At Worcester, there are some great people, and my sympathy goes out to anyone involved in this. It’s horrendous.
“We are very blessed to be in sport, and if you have got a job in rugby right now you really need to appreciate how lucky you are.
“For it to be pulled away just like that, financially it is a nightmare.
“If you are a young competitive athlete and you’ve set your stall out to achieve something this year and you might have moved house thinking Worcester is the club for you, it’s devastating. It’s very messy, and everyone has got my full sympathy with it.
“We went through Covid and everything, so I had a lot of conversations around finances, as I am sure every coach at every club did with the people who were in the know. Rugby has always been on a fine line.
“There might be one or two clubs who sit in a room and go ‘we’ve got loads of money, do what you want’ and we know who those clubs are, but there are not many.”
No decision has yet been made on whether Gloucester will be awarded points for the Worcester fixture, or if it could be rescheduled.
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