Worcester Warriors’ first home game of the season against Exeter Chiefs on Sunday was thrown into doubt on Wednesday night after a 5pm deadline to pay medical staff was missed on the day of the match, leaving the club facing a forfeit potential and raising new questions about its future.
Telegraph Sport understands the medics – an essential game day service – had set Worcester a deadline to be paid on Wednesday in order to be confirmed for Sunday’s game at Sixways.
Premiership Rugby have not set a deadline for the game to go ahead, but time is running out now for Worcester to make the necessary arrangements. The game is highly unlikely to go ahead without medical attention and the club now face the prospect of forfeiting.
Steve Diamond, Worcester’s director of rugby, admitted on Wednesday that club owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham’s announcement on Tuesday that terms of sale with an interested party had been agreed was “slightly vague”, adding that without providers in place the game moving forward was unlikely.
“If people and vendors don’t get paid, I don’t think logistically the game can continue,” Diamond said, adding that medical staff had been paid and insurance was in place.
“It’s Thursday tomorrow and due to the very delicate financial situation of the place, I don’t think anyone is going to file any cases, do you? Without getting paid first. It will be a sign that the game is on, if we see some Ocado carts entering the place.”
Regarding the potential sale, Diamond added that he did not know the identity of the new owners or if they would keep him employed before saying: “These people have to deliver and they are in the final throes of this. If they are no so I probably won’t be sitting in front of you again. If it’s a cock and bull thing then it’ll be over this weekend because we won’t be playing.
Worcester announced on Wednesday night that the club are still awaiting final approval from the heads of mandate on the deal to sell the club to a buyer, while working with Premiership Rugby Limited, the Rugby Football Union and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ensure that the men’s and women’s matches this weekend can take place.
The team were briefed on the terms of the sale agreement on Monday evening, with the lack of progress since that initial message was shared leading to increased concerns behind the scenes.
Another problem Worcester is facing is club staff insisting they receive their unpaid balance of wages for August before suppliers are paid, with club staff still waiting for 35 per cent of their salaries arrive in two weeks after they were originally supposed to be delivered.