Worcester’s players received an 11th‑hour reprieve on Wednesday after being told their August wages would be paid. The Warriors have nevertheless pulled out of a scheduled pre‑season game against Glasgow on Friday amid continuing uncertainty over the club’s financial position.
The Guardian understands a fresh loan has been taken out to ensure the players’ wages are paid in full, although staff will receive only 65% of what they are owed. It gives Worcester some much-needed breathing space in their battle to retain their players and stay afloat with the new Premiership season kicking off next week.
The co-owner Jason Whittingham said in a statement on Wednesday night: “It pains us to have to do it this way, but non-playing staff will receive 65% of their monthly salary tomorrow. We are completing on a solution which would see the remainder paid within five working days. With that vital task in hand, our full focus returns to the long-term survival of the club.”
The owners now say they are open to selling the club, which has been issued with a winding-up petition by HMRC. Whittingham said: “We’ve narrowed down discussions to three motivated and credible buyers who have proven funds.”
The club had been due to travel to Inverness for the match on Friday, with a sponsor having offered to cover the costs, but the Warriors director of rugby, Steve Diamond, said “the unique and worrying situation” facing the club meant it was not feasible to fulfil the fixture. Diamond described the decision not to go to Scotland as “hugely frustrating and disappointing” but confirmed there was little other option available in the circumstances.
“It simply isn’t feasible to play when futures remain uncertain and a decision had to be taken today,” the 54-year-old said via Twitter. “It is unethical for professional players to play a full‑on game with the risk of injury and the real possibility of no employment to follow.”
Diamond added that his squad were “bitterly disappointed to be put in this position” having worked hard in recent weeks to be fully up to speed for the start of the Premiership season. Worcester are scheduled to kick off at London Irish on Saturday week.