Rugby: the big financial difficulties of English clubs
By judicial decision of 5th October, winding-up proceedings were issued against the company WRFC Player Limited, the entity of the English club of Worcester Warriors that employs the players and the staff, since its managers were unable to provide the financial guarantees required by the court.
The immediate consequence of this radical decision is the release of the players from their contracts. The club’s squad, which includes several talented international players such as the Scottish players Duhan van der Merwe and Rory Sutherland, the Englishman Ollie Lawrence and the South African Francois Venter, could be sent to other clubs in the coming weeks.
Strangled by a colossal debt and unable to pay its players, the club had been suspended from professional competitions for several weeks by the English professional rugby federation (RFU).
This drama is part of a difficult structural economic context for Premiership clubs, as nearly half of them are heavily indebted.
Wasps, who announced on 17th October that Wasps Holdings Limited had been placed into receivership, could face a similar fate. The company had to cease all operations and immediately lay off 167 employees, including players and staff.
In 2024, the contract that governs the relationship between the clubs and the RFU will be renegotiated. Hopefully, this will provide an opportunity for English rugby to consider how to provide a better future for its clubs.