Worcester Warriors: WRFC Players Ltd wound up at High Court

Worcester Warriors have been suspended from the Premiership since September 26

Worcester Warriors players and staff will be out of contract after part of the club wound up in the High Court.

HMRC were after the club, which is suspended from all competition, for unpaid tax of around £6m.

Judge Nicholas Briggs ordered that WRFC Players Ltd, through which players and staff are paid, must be wound up.

The winding-up application against WRFC Trading Limited, which remains in administration, has been stayed.

The Four players left on loan to Bath on Monday and the rest of the team are now free agents, so they can sign for any club.

The joint trial between the two companies, which took place in London’s Crown Courts, was sparked by the online rail strike.

The club was not represented in the courts.

All of WRFC Players Ltd’s debts, including the amount owed to HMRC, believed to be in excess of £6 million, remain unpaid.

The ground and club are controlled by WRFC Trading Ltd, which went into administration last Monday.

Much of the surrounding land is owned by other companies owned by co-owners Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring.

The joint trial of Worcester Warriors at the Royal Courts of Justice in London ended in one minute
The trial at the Royal Courts of Justice was over within a minute

Begbies Traynor, the administrators appointed to deal with the club’s WRFC Trading Ltd wing, will continue to deal with that part of the process.

But the contracts of all players, backroom staff, administrative staff and the women’s team playing under the Worcester University of Warriors banner have been effectively suspended.

Some workers are still owed 35% of their August wages, while others were not paid at all, and none were paid for September.

It is understood the Warriors could be suspended from the Premiership and other competitions until the end of the season, and relegated to the Championship.

But, if a buyer is found by the middle of this month, it can still retain the top spot.

Begbies Traynor is still looking for a buyer for WRFC Trading Ltd, and is in talks with two consortia, one of which is the consortium. Led by former Warriors general manager Jim O’Toole.

Unfortunate story of warriors

How did the Warriors get there?

Worcester’s journey to becoming a force in English club rugby began when local millionaire boilermaker Cecil Duckworth joined in 1997.

In 2004 he introduced the funds that led to the promotion of John Brain to the first level of coaching.

But the Warriors have never started from there, been relegated twice, and have never finished higher than eighth in their 16 years in the top flight.

Long-time benefactor Duckworth reduced its stake in 2013 when it was taken over by Sixways Holdings Limited under Greg Allen.

Duckworth was part of the new board as chairman of the club until his death in 2020.

By then, there was a club sold again, to a consortium of four people It was directed by Jed McCrory in October 2018, though He left in June 2019, Whittingham and Goldring, who were also directors of EFL club Morecambe, were left as joint owners.