Worcester’s clash with Newcastle at Sixways on Saturday will go ahead, but the financially-struggling club could be put into government administration.
The Rugby Football Union has confirmed Worcester met Thursday’s 12pm deadline to prove they could stage their second home game of the season amid debts exceeding £25m.
However, there remains a very realistic possibility that this will be their last Gallagher Premiership game amid a warning from the RFU that they will be suspended from all competitions on Monday if they are unable to demonstrate a credible plan to get Sixways out of the crisis.
Culture Minister Stuart Andrew said the government would “immediately” send in professional advisers to take a closer look at the club and potential options.
Putting the club under guardianship is a decision “that we will not hesitate to take” if it proves to be the most suitable, added the minister.
His remarks came in response to calls in the House of Commons led by Robin Walker, Conservative MP for Worcester, for the government to act urgently before Monday’s deadline.
Worcester owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham have until 5 p.m. on September 26 to show progress on insurance, payroll and finding a new buyer.
If they are suspended after failing to meet these three criteria, then they could be permanently barred from all competitions.
“While we understand this will be bad news, it is clear that the current situation cannot continue, and in particular without the RFU and Premiership Rugby receiving these assurances,” the RFU said in a letter sent to owners. Wednesday.
Goldring and Whittingham have been accused of stripping the club’s assets and have yet to finalize its sale to the new owners despite repeated claims that a deal is imminent.
They have also received a winding up order from HMRC, which is pursuing £6million in unpaid tax.
Walker praised the “heroic” efforts of staff and players to keep the club going and urged Andrew to “please save our Warriors”.
He told the Commons: “If the current owners’ protests are true – that they have the best interests of the club at heart – then surely, even at this stage, they should appeal to the administrators.
“However, while doubt remains over their motivation, I now urge the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) – as the main creditor and department responsible for safeguarding the interests of sport – to intervene and do it before Monday. .
“I know of at least two significant interested parties, one of whom is the party the owners claimed to be close to reaching an agreement with last week, who have said they are interested in stepping in with new funding for support the club but only through an administration process.
“I tell the minister that now seems the only way forward.”
Mr Andrew, in his response, said: “The department is working tirelessly with the directors of the club, with Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union to seek the best possible outcome for everyone involved.
“We have spent more energy on Worcester than any other club and we will continue to do so. This has included daily dialogue with stakeholders and club administrators to explore all available options and take advice appropriate professionals.
“At this stage, we are not ruling out any options and are sending professional advisers shortly to take a closer look at the club and potential options.
“If it emerges from this work that the most viable option to save the club is to put it into administration, then that is a decision we will not be afraid to make.”