Wasps: RFU withdraws offer of Championship place for 2023-24 season




Coventry was home to Wasps from December 2014 until November 2022
Coventry was home to Wasps from December 2014 until November 2022

The Rugby Football Union has withdrawn its offer to Wasps of a place in the Championship for 2023-24.

The RFU says Wasps, who have a training base in Henley-in-Arden but no ground, have failed to hit a deadline to confirm commitments made when the licence was first approved in December.

The six-times Premiership winners will be placed “at the bottom of the playing pyramid” in English rugby.

The current bottom level in the English pyramid is the 10th tier.

Assuming six-time English champions and twice European Cup winners Wasps are still considered to be based in the Midlands, that would put them in either Counties 4 Midlands West (North) or Counties 4 Midlands West (South).

Wasps’ application to return to professional rugby for the 2023-24 season in the Championship was given approval by the RFU on 16 December, the same day that fellow Midlands side Worcester’s was rejected.

But the offer made to Wasps was subject to a number of conditions being met.

An RFU statement said: “These included evidencing payment to rugby creditors and putting in place suitable governance structures including a majority independent board and a process for managing risk.

“The RFU was also concerned about the lack of progress engaging coaching staff and players.

Wasps Henley-in-Arden training ground home is owned not by the club but by Wasps owner Chris Holland
Wasps’ Henley-in-Arden training ground home is owned not by the club but by Wasps owner Chris Holland

“The club stated that it could not meet these commitments, recommit to participating in the Championship in 2023-24 or engage staff of players until further finance was secured.”

Wasps had still to announce where they intended to play their home matches having previously advised the RFU of two possible tenancies – at Solihull Moors’ Damson Park and Sixways, home of Worcester Warriors.

But Worcester’s new owners Atlas Group have had their own problems satisfying the RFU’s financial credentials.

Wasps owner Chris Holland even made a reported £1.1m loan to Atlas to help secure their lease to play at Sixways from next season onwards – but that was understood to have been repayable within three weeks.

The RFU added in its statement that Wasps had been given “the best chance of continuing in the league structure and recognises the effort the new owners have put in to try to make this happen”.

“However, the RFU board decided that in order to give certainty to other clubs, the licence to continue to play is withdrawn,” it added.

Bill Sweeney chief executive of the Rugby Football Union
Bill Sweeney was appointed chief executive of the Rugby Football Union in May 2019

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney added: “This is not the outcome anyone in rugby wanted.

“All those involved with the club will be deeply disappointed.

“We have worked with the new owners for the past six months to try to ensure that a robust plan could be put in place for the club to play in the Championship while players and staff could receive monies owed to them.

“The RFU is working closely in partnership with Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players Association to ensure players are supported.

“We are also working together at pace to ensure the game emerges from this challenging time on a strong and sound financial footing.”

Following the demise of both Wasps and Worcester this latest news comes in the wake of the 30 May deadline handed to London Irish to complete their takeover or risk being suspended from the Premiership next season.


Source link


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *