Wasps CEO admits "the past has caught up with us" - The Coventry Observer

Wasps CEO admits "the past has caught up with us"

Coventry Editorial 21st Oct, 2022   0

WASPS CEO Stephen Vaughan admitted that “the past has caught up with us” after the financially troubled club were placed in administration earlier this week.

The club’s 167 employees, including all members of the playing squads and coaching staff, have been made redundant.

Wasps have been unable to repay the £35 million it owes to bondholders following their relocation to Coventry in 2014 and owe a further £2 million to His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The club now face automatic relegation to the RFU Championship unless they can exploit the ‘no fault insolvency’ loophole in the RFU rules.

Wasps CEO Stephen Vaughan told Sky Sports: “We’ve been in dialogue with the RFU and PRL with regards to the relegation, they’ve been very good and very honest with us, they understand the situation.

“The difficulty that the RFU faces is the precedent that may set with other clubs, we’re in dialogue with them now to see what we can possibly do.

“We’ve gone into administration, that doesn’t mean we’re not still having conversations with people and we’ll still do that.

“We understand that we’ll probably have to come back in the Championship next year, there’s a lot of players that would love to stick with Wasps whether we’re in the Championship or the Premiership.

“This club has been going for over 155 years, if it means six months elsewhere to bring it back with really good, solid, honest ownership, a great leadership team and the core group we have now, I think we would take that.

“It’s massive sadness for all of us really, I certainly didn’t want to be having this conversation with anybody, the past has caught up with us.

“We’ve been trying everything that we can to try and get a deal over the line and get this fantastic club to continue its journey but we’ve been timed out at the moment.

“There’s lots of tears and lots of very, very, upset people which is completely understandable.”

Since the news was announced on Monday (October 17) several former Wasps players have expressed their views on the club’s plight.

Wasps legend Lawrence Dallaglio tweeted: “I’m heartbroken. My thoughts are with all those who have lost their jobs and the fans of our great club #OnceaWasp.”

Former player Charlie Atkinson tweeted: “Absolutely heartbroken with the news that’s come out today. The breakup of a family that meant so much to the whole wasps community. Unbelievable players, staff and fans over the years that have helped create friendships and memories which will undoubtedly last a lifetime.”

Fellow former player Rob Miller said: “I’ve had a brilliant eight years at Wasps and it’s been an absolute honour to represent the club.

“I’d like to thank all involved for my time here and wish everyone all the best for the future.

“Finally, a huge thanks to all of our awesome supporters, from the early days at High Wycombe to helping us create a brilliant atmosphere with our new home in Coventry.”

James Haskell told Sky Sports: “It’s devastating. Your thoughts are with the players and staff, and it’s not just the immediate people you think about, it’s all the support staff.

“Some players are going to be lucky to move on to other clubs, but the nature of rugby at the moment with the salary cap is these players are going to go from earning good money – rightly so for their skills and the way they put their bodies on the line – to reduced salary and some people won’t get a job.

“It’s awful, but I think it’s quite indicative of the way rugby is going. I don’t think Worcester and Wasps are going to be the only clubs, I think some drastic change needs to happen and, unfortunately, I think rugby has been faffing around for too long and not dealing with this issue.

“I think it’s a very dark day for rugby across the whole game.”

Former Head Coach Lee Blackett told Sky Sports: “We were always hopeful of positive news, I think everyone is always like that, but this sad day has come.

“I hope there’s some positive news in the next few weeks but this day is hard to see past.”

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