MORE CHAOS AS WASPS DENY GOING BUST
WASPS were last night frantically trying to reassure stunned, worried players and staff that the club are not about to go bust, after serving notice of intention to go into administration.
At a time of financial turmoil in the English game, the Coventry-based club were forced to take drastic action to stave off the threat of a winding-up order from HMRC. Wasps have been scrambling to secure the investment needed to belatedly pay back £35million of debt from a bond scheme used to help finance their move to the West Midlands from London in 2014.
If Wasps were to go into administration, with the current season under way, the punishment would be relegation from the Premiership when the 2022-23 campaign comes to an end.
The news that they had served notice to take this last-resort option spread shock and panic among employees, with sources confirming that members of the playing squad and management team were caught off guard by the alarming development. However, a message — seen by Sportsmail — was later sent out to staff attempting to ease their concerns. It read: ‘This morning, HMRC made a decision to give their intention to issue a winding-up order against the club for outstanding monies owed. Due to this, the board have taken the decision to enter a Notice of Intention to Appoint an Administrator.
‘This is not the same as entering into administration but it is a method by which the club can continue to trade whilst it finalises its negotiations with regards to the refinance package which the board have been working on. ‘Clearly, this is an unsettling time for all involved. However, at this present moment in time, there is no change to daily operations and we have been informed that there is no reason why salaries due next week should not be paid as expected. What this process will do is protect the business in the short term, to give it an opportunity to complete the refinance process. ‘We have arranged for our restructuring partner, FRP, together with board members, to be available at the training ground in person tomorrow to answer any questions directly.’
There are bound to be plenty of questions. Earlier this month, Wasps released a statement which claimed that the club had ‘received an offer which would see the bonds fully redeemed on completion of this refinancing’. It suggested talks with the lender were at ‘an advanced stage’, but there has been no definitive breakthrough.