Wasps & Worcester Warriors: MPs to hold ‘inquiry’ with English rugby’s governing bodies

Wasps & Worcester Warriors: MPs to hold 'inquiry' with English rugby's governing bodies

Wasps and Worcester have both been relegated from the Premiership

MPs are to quiz rugby union’s governing bodies as to how two Premiership clubs, Worcester Warriors and Wasps, suffered financial collapse simultaneously.

The heads of both Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union are to meet the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Thursday.

They will discuss whether more financial oversight of the game, and of club owners, is needed.

Premiership co-founders Wasps went into administration on 17 October.

That followed the fate of Worcester 13 days earlier when WRFC Players Ltd, the arm of the club through which players and staff are paid, was wound up in the High Court in London.

Warriors’ debts have now been found to total more than £30m, including millions in unpaid tax, while the Wasps Group was over £100m in debt.

The most recent set of accounts for Wasps Holdings, which covered the financial year ending June 2021, showed an £18.5m loss over a two-year period, with liabilities of £54.7m.

The RFU’s cumulative losses since 2012 have been £73m – and already there has been media speculation several other Premiership clubs have major financial concerns.

The committee is due to hear from Worcester MP Robin Walker, Worcester Warriors Foundation chief executive Carol Hart, RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney, Premiership Rugby CEO Simon Massie-Taylor and Rugby Players Association CEO Judith Batchelar.

The chief issues are to discuss whether more oversight is needed to prevent financial mismanagement, whether English rugby should adopt the model used by the French leagues, and the likelihood of Wasps and Worcester returning to the Premiership and keeping their ‘P’ shares in the league.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee is not a government committee but a select 10-person committee of the House of Commons with a key role in holding ministers to account.

Wasps and Worcester are both currently suspended and have been relegated from the Premiership.

Neither club yet knows what their fate will be next season.

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