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Wasps takeover offer accepted

Featured image credit: Lewis Clarke/CC BY-SA 2.0/Edited for size

The joint administrators of Wasps Holdings Limited, the parent company of Premiership rugby union club Wasps, have accepted an offer for the team from the Wasps Legends consortium, which includes former players.

The offer only covers Wasps’ men’s and academy teams, with separate talks ongoing for the club’s women’s and netball teams. Wasps was placed into administration earlier this month, with 167 employees being made redundant.

The Rugby Football Union has suspended Wasps from the Premiership for the remainder of the 2022-23 season and the team will start the 2023-24 campaign in the second-tier Championship if a takeover deal is agreed.

The Wasps Legends offer does not include Arena Coventry Limited and IEC Experience Limited, which operate the businesses at Wasps Coventry Building Society Arena. These companies are not in administration and are continuing to trade as normal.

In a statement reported by CoventryLive, joint administrator Andrew Sheridan said: “The consortium knows that it still has to meet all of the RFU requirements, including the fit and proper owners test and the presentation of a three-to-five-year business plan with supporting robust financial forecasts, and that this needs to be completed as soon as is practical in order to be in a position to play next season. However, this deal is a significant step forward, and one that we all hope will allow Wasps Rugby to live on.

“We have informed the RFU about this development and the consortium is fully aware of the rugby creditors rules as set out in Regulation 5 by the RFU. We understand that the consortium will seek to work with the RFU, the RPA and their members to reach a reasonable conclusion on those matters.”

In other news, Championship football club Coventry City, which also plays at the CBS Arena, has reached a ‘Time to Pay’ agreement with HM Revenue and Customs after pitch issues affected its first four home matches of the season.

Three of Coventry’s Championship home matches were postponed as the CBS Arena pitch was deemed unplayable after it hosted rugby sevens games during the Commonwealth Games. The club was also forced to switch its Carabao Cup match against Bristol City to the Pirelli Stadium, home of Burton Albion.

Coventry said the postponements had a “significant impact” on the club’s cashflow, and the ‘Time to Pay’ agreement with HMRC provides it with an extended period of time to ensure that its legal commitments continue to be met. The agreement will be completed in December and the club has already paid three of the six instalments.

Meanwhile, a consortium led by Jim O’Toole has been selected as the preferred bidders for the Worcester Warriors, Wasps’ fellow Premiership club which is also in administration due to financial issues.

O’Toole formerly served as the Warriors’ chief executive, and he has teamed up with business partner James Sandford to launch a bid for the club.

Julie Palmer, who works at the club’s administrators Begbies Traynor, told the BBC that O’Toole’s bid has been selected.