Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring released a statement revealing the extent of the Worcester Warriors situation

The owners of WORCESTER Warriors have denied “conspiracy theories” surrounding the club’s financial situation.

Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring have sent a detailed statement to everyone employed by Worcester Warriors explaining the situation at the club.

In the lengthy email, they claim HMRC issued the liquidation petition for being several days late on a £320,000 VAT payment.

The statement was leaked on social media and has since been widely shared.

What is really happening and why?

According to reports, the owners have confirmed that a liquidation petition has been issued by HMRC.

The owners also confirmed that the amount of the VAT payment was £320,000.

The letter goes on to mention how the owners disposed of the future funding needed for the club, which the petition ‘potentially prevented’.

He said: “It is heartbreaking to think that we have sorted through the club’s future funding needs, to cover the club’s cash flow needs until it is self-sustaining with income from the first phase of development.

“The legal agreements have all been drafted and all parties are ready to sign this month.

“This petition potentially prevented this loan from proceeding.”

The letter mentions how covid has had a significant effect on finances, and the decision not to make any redundancies meant the owners incurred a huge debt to HMRC.

What about claims of “asset stripping”?

Worcester Warriors owners Jason Whittingham (left) and Colin Goldring (right) – Ryan Hiscott/JMP – 08/10/2019 – SPORT – Sixways Stadium – Worcester, England – Worcester Warriors Media Day.

The owners have said the asset stripping claims are “completely untrue” and all they have done since the lockdown has been to make the club more sustainable.

Rumors surrounding the stadium and surrounding land removed from the blub have also been strongly denied.

They said: “The splitting of the club from the grounds surrounding Sixways Stadium into two different companies was done as part of the purchase of the club from the previous owners over four years ago now.

“It’s absolutely not true, the stadium and the pitch have recently been removed from the club.

The changes to the plots of land, including the sale of pitches above the canal and the mortgage on the land that we’re supposed to strip, which Jason and I personally guarantee, went towards paying your salaries last month and the previous month when we had a delay on long-term financing.”

Is the club going into administration and could the club be sold?

Worcester News: Sixways Stadium.Sixways Stadium.

The owners have denied all reports of them going into administration, saying there are still viable options to pursue.

They said: “If this situation changes and we decide that the club should go into administration, we will inform you all immediately, however, we are working hard to avoid this if we can – as indicated in previous communications.”

When discussing the losses suffered by the club since the lockdown, the owners mentioned that they would be open to selling the club.

They said: “It is not true that any of the group structuring is for our own benefit, everything that has been done post covid has been done under scrutiny and the separation of the stadium from the development ground in part of the Covid loans framework was to protect him and make sure we could do something to stop the huge losses the club have suffered since lockdown, almost £400,000 a month.

“If a buyer offered to fund and continue the club only if we sold the whole site, we would.”

Why was there a lack of communication?

The owners began their letter by apologizing for the lack of communication, stating the reason as “early starts and late finishes”.

They said: “We’re sorry, this is the first time you’ve heard from us directly in a while, it started early and ends late each day to identify, assess and then move forward with the best options available.

“The situation at the club is changing rapidly and is intense, but we are still thinking of you and are aware that you, as well as the supporters and the local community, will want to know everything that is going on.”

The letter goes on to say, “We don’t blame anyone for drawing the wrong conclusions so far because we haven’t communicated or shared all the information well enough for everyone to better understand the situation and post transactions. -covid required to maintain the club and continue to pay salaries.”

The owners have also pledged to improve communications with Warriors supporter groups in the future.

What about staff and player jobs?

The owners couldn’t give any assurances about the future of the club’s players or staff.

The letter explained how the owners are “still fighting” to support everyone employed by the club.
He said: “We are always fighting to support the club and its staff, you are our number one priority through all of this and we are really doing everything we can.

“We cannot guarantee the outcome yet, but we can guarantee that we will have done everything we can to save this club and your livelihood.”

What about Park and Ride parking?

Much interest has surrounded the parking lot at Sixways Stadium, which the owners have dubbed “a favorite conspiracy theory”.

The owners said: “On the freehold transfer of the Park and Ride car park in particular, which seems to be a favorite conspiracy theory, it only affects the central part of the car park.

“This freehold is not like the rest of our land, as the rights of use were sold to the Council as a park and ride lease by Cecil many years ago.

“We had to put a valuation on this freehold with no right to use the land for stamp duty purposes on the transfer of this freehold which was valued at £50,000, this was a transfer within the group and it was not sold to just anyone, as reports suggest.”

Is Cecil Duckworth’s legacy being considered?

Worcester News: Cecil Duckworth.  Credit: Richard EatonCecile Duckworth. Credit: Richard Eaton

Despite criticism from many fans about the situation and the effect it will have on the work Cecil Duckworth CBE has done during his time as owner, the owners said they are still trying to protect his legacy.

They said: “We are working tirelessly to save the club and protect Cecil’s legacy which is personal to us due to our personal relationship with Cecil.

“Our vision, mission and goals to that end still stand.

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