What next for administration-threatened Wasps and English club rugby?

The four-time Premiership champions have joined Worcester in being suspended from the Gallagher Premiership.

Pa Sport Staff
Thursday 13 October 2022 11:12 BST
Wasps have been suspended from the Gallagher Premiership (David Davies/PA)
Wasps have been suspended from the Gallagher Premiership (David Davies/PA) (PA Wire)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Financially-troubled Wasps have followed Worcester in being suspended from the Gallagher Premiership and face an imminent threat of administration.

Here, the PA news agency answers some of the key questions regarding the club’s plight.

Why are Wasps in trouble?

Like Worcester, Wasps are saddled with debt, which run to tens of millions of pounds. Wasps Holdings Limited have twice filed notice to get insolvency experts in to help, revealing talks were at “a relatively advanced stage” with possible investors in the face of a winding-up order from HM Revenue and Customs for £2million in unpaid tax. The club also face having to repay a £35m bond which helped finance the club’s relocation to Coventry during 2014.

What is the latest development?

English rugby’s flagship domestic competition was left in meltdown on Wednesday after Wasps followed Worcester in being suspended from the Premiership. The four-time champions had already withdrawn from Saturday’s scheduled league fixture against Exeter at Sandy Park and face a “likely” move into administration.

What does that mean for the club?

It is understood Wasps would need to reapply for the suspension to be lifted if they can demonstrate means and commitment to pay rugby creditors. Players and staff now face uncertain futures. The club’s only hope of remaining in the Premiership if they go into administration would rest on them proving a “no fault” solvency event because of the global pandemic.

What happens next?

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) said on Wednesday it will continue to speak to administrators, potential buyers and Premiership Rugby in order to “find the best possible outcome for the club”. Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is understood to be an interested party.

Where does English club rugby go from here?

We appreciate this is a very difficult time for Wasps players, staff and supporters who will be concerned at news that the club is likely to enter administration.

RFU

Sustainability will be a major watch-word for the coming weeks and months. The authorities will do everything to avoid Wasps going to the wall. But the wider argument over the Premiership’s best long-term plan will rage on.

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