Diamond tweet confirms Worcester game is off

Diamond tweet confirms Worcester game is off


The Gallagher Premiership future of financially stricken Worcester Warriors was plunged into further turmoil ahead of the new 2022/23 season after a tweet from Steve Diamond confirmed that their scheduled pre-season friendly versus Glasgow Warriors was cancelled.

The director of rugby had tweeted last Friday to state that the match planned for Inverness would be going ahead thanks to Adam Hewitt Limited, a specialist company dealing in agricultural and HGV salvage. The shirt sponsor had agreed to take care of all the logistical costs involved in the September 2 friendly in Scotland.

However, this optimism that the match would definitely happen has now evaporated following a further tweet from Diamond that confirmed the Worcester players and staff had not been paid as scheduled on August 31.

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The 148-word tweet from Worcester boss Diamond read: “Together we have been forced to take the hugely frustrating and disappointing decision not to travel to Inverness tomorrow [Thursday] for our pre-season fixture against Glasgow Warriors on Friday as players and staff wages remain unpaid.

“The squad have worked hard throughout pre-season and are bitterly disappointed to be put in this position. We express our deep sorrow to our hosts Glasgow Warriors who we hope understand the unique and worrying situation we find ourselves in. We would like to thank Adam Hewitt for his overwhelming generosity in offering to fund the trip.

“It simply isn’t feasible to play when futures remain uncertain and a decision had to be taken. It is unethical for professional players to play a full-on game with the risk of injury and the real possibility of no employment to follow. We thank everyone for their continued support and for uniting behind us all – together.”

Diamond was due to attend this Thursday’s official Premiership season launch at Twickenham before heading up to Scotland. However, the cancellation of the pre-season match in Inverness has instead heightened fears that Worcester will not be able to start the season as planned with their September 10 game away to London Irish.

With the payroll deadline having passed, the fear now is that the squad will start to break up. Players with wages still due after Wednesday can now serve notice to Worcester to rectify the outstanding payment. If this has not happened within 14 days then the player can terminate the contract, which also takes 14 days, and leave as a free agent.

The Rugby Players’ Association [RPA] have been advising squad members that the only way a player can depart immediately is because of an insolvency event such as administration or if an agreement with the club is reached. It was via a leaked email on Tuesday that it emerged players and staff would not be paid on August 31 as the winding-up petition issued by HMRC had frozen the club’s accounts.

The email, allegedly written by Worcester co-owner Colin Goldring, read: “As you will all no doubt know, the club’s bank accounts were frozen shortly after the HMRC petition was issued meaning we are not able to access those funds to help met payroll. Therefore we do not have the money at this moment to fulfil payroll tomorrow [Wednesday].”

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