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Thursday May 18, 2023

Wasps to restart at bottom of rugby pyramid following removal from the Championship by RFU

Wasps fans will be left devastated this afternoon after finding out that the new owners of the club have not been able to provide proof to the RFU that the club can still operate.

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This has meant that their opportunity to start again in the Championship has been revoked, leaving them to start again at the bottom of the league pyramid.

Among the proofs that were required were evidence that creditors were paid and that there was a suitable governance structure in the club.

A statement reads:

“The RFU have withdrawn the licence for Wasps to continue to play in the league structure. This means that Wasps will not be able to play in the Championship next season.

“In order to be sure that Wasps were in a position to play in the Championship, the RFU set a deadline for the club to meet the commitments it had made when the licence was first approved and recommit to participating in the Championship in 2023/24.

“These included evidencing payment to rugby creditors and putting in place suitable governance structures including a majority independent board and a process for managing risk. The RFU was also concerned about the lack of progress engaging coaching staff and players.

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“The club stated that it could not meet these commitments, recommit to participating in the Championship in 2023/24 or engage staff of players until further finance was secured.

“The RFU had worked with the club’s new owners to give the club the best chance of continuing in the league structure and recognises the effort the new owners have put in to try to make this happen. However, the RFU board decided that in order to give certainty to other clubs, the licence to continue to play is withdrawn.

“Wasps will now move to the bottom of the playing pyramid and certainty can now be provided to the Championship clubs over the season structure for 23/24.”

Bill Sweeney, CEO of the Rugby Football Union has said: “This is not the outcome anyone in rugby wanted and all those involved with the club will be deeply disappointed. We have worked with the new owners for the past six months to try to ensure that a robust plan could be put in place for the club to continue to play in the Championship while players and staff could receive monies owed to them.”

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“The RFU is working closely in partnership with Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players Association to ensure players are supported. We are also working together at pace to ensure the game emerges from this challenging time on a strong and sound financial footing.”

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