London (AFP) – Wasps have withdrawn from Saturday’s English Premiership rugby game against Exeter with the cash-strapped club “likely” to enter administration within days.
In another colossal blow for the English domestic game, Wasps’ predicament follows the financial struggles of Worcester Warriors, who have already entered administration and been suspended from the Premiership for the rest of this reason.
“It has become clear that there is likely to be insufficient time to find a solvent solution for the companies within the group,” Wasps, two-time European champions, said in a statement.
“It is therefore likely that they will enter into administration in the coming days with a view to concluding deals shortly thereafter.
“In light of the current situation, we have therefore taken the decision to withdraw the Wasps men’s team from this Saturday’s league fixture against Exeter Chiefs.”
Wasps signalled their intention to appoint administrators last month as they face a winding-up order from authorities over £2 million ($2.2 million) in unpaid tax.
Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is among those rumoured to be among the interested parties looking to buy the club.
Wasps’ financial crisis has been sparked by a failure to meet a May deadline to repay £35 million ($40 million) in bonds, which helped finance their relocation to Coventry from London in 2014.
There are fears that other English Premiership clubs could also face a bleak future — the collective debts of all 13 top-flight clubs are estimated at more than £500 million.
Worcester’s players and staff have had their contracts terminated with the club set to be relegated from the Premiership after being suspended for the rest of the campaign.
Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter suggested on Wednesday that a move to a 10-team Premiership is the best way forward for both financial stability and to ease the physical burden on players.
“A league of about 10, home and away, with their international commitments, starts to sound very common sense,” said Baxter.
“You’ve got less home games, but then hopefully you attract bigger crowds to a better spectacle if you are watching the international players playing every single week.”
© 2022 AFP