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Building Frustration

Updated: Apr 13

  • 354 days since HMRC issued Worcester Warriors a winding-up petition.

  • 314 days since WRFC Trading Limited went into administration.

  • 288 days since the administrators last met with supporters to update them on progress.

  • 279 days since Atlas were made preferred bidders by the administrators.

  • 186 days since the administrators announced that an improved offer by Atlas had been accepted to buy the club.

  • 139 days since Atlas last presented any plans to supporters.

  • 96 days since the business and assets of WRFC Trading Limited were sold to Atlas.

  • 95 days since the last public announcement regarding the future of Worcester Warriors from Atlas.


UPDATE REGARDING THE DIALOGUE BETWEEN WWST & THE ADMINISTRATORS


The working group for WWST have tried hard to arrange a meeting with Begbies Traynor in order to act as a liaison between them and supporters. We feel that the lack of information regarding the administration process, and hence the future of the club, has significantly fuelled the endless speculation on social media and, in turn, the inevitable anger and frustration felt by supporters. We offered our help to try and improve relations and grow trust between supporters and both the administrators and any stakeholders in that process.

Initial approaches were made via a third party in early June but proved fruitless. Over the last 3-4 weeks we have been corresponding with the administrators via email in an attempt to open a constructive dialogue. Unfortunately we have now been told by the administrators that "there is little point in meeting at present whilst we are bound by confidentiality around the sale." This, despite declaring that the business and assets of WRFC Trading Limited were sold on 2nd May 2023 to Atlas Worcester Warriors Rugby Club Limited.


A reminder as to what comprises the Business and Assets of WRFC Trading Limited as sold to Atlas:

  • Equipment (including plant and machinery)

  • Goodwill

  • Its leasehold interest in Sixways Stadium

  • Intellectual property (ie the Worcester Warriors Brand)


To quote from the FAQs on the Begbies Traynor Group's own website:


"Q - How will you keep us informed of the progress in finding a buyer for the club?

A – Updates in relation to the potential rescue of the rugby club will be available upon conclusion of negotiations with interested parties. All negotiations with interested parties will be confidential until this point."


Hence we can assume that negotiations are not complete.


Importantly, the administrators have informed us that they expect to be in a position to issue a further report to creditors over the next week, offering detail regarding the business and assets of WRFC Trading Limited. This is welcome and hopefully will go some way to explaining the current situation. It seems to us that that the keys to this sale (and hence the potential future for Worcester Warriors) are the terms and conditions of the leasehold interest in Sixways Stadium. The previous owners made multiple changes to the business structure, with numerous transactions and transfers between numerous companies. The terms of the resultant lease therefore require clarification.


This article in The Guardian by Michael Aylwin perhaps provides the most insight available to the general public:



We are not aware of any information being in the public domain regarding the Receivership of Sixways Stadium Limited which owns the Freehold of Sixways Stadium, albeit with an outstanding charge courtesy of the English Sports Council.


Despite the setback of being unable to secure the confidence of Begbies Traynor, we remain optimistic that the Supporters' Trust will still have a part to play in the management of information flow between the administrators and the supporter base.


We are grateful to Andrew Hook and Julie Palmer at Begbies Traynor for trying to engage the stakeholders with WWST.



UPDATE REGARDING THE DIALOGUE BETWEEN WWST & ATLAS WORCESTER WARRIORS


On 4th May, the day after Jim O'Toole and James Sandford appeared on the BBC H&W Worcester Warriors Podcast to announce their purchase of WRFC Trading Limited, Jim O'Toole contacted the WWST working group to offer an online meeting to discuss our response to their statement release of 3rd May 2023.

The first formal meeting of our working group took place on May 9th at which we discussed this offer. As a group we felt it was too early to meet and replied with thanks but suggesting it would be more appropriate to re-engage once we had a mandate from supporters. Our mandate was granted on May 19th by a public and online vote, after which we began the process of applying for Mutual status with the FCA.

On 1st June we emailed Jim & James to ask for a meeting. We did not receive a reply. On 15th June we sent a reminder. On 17th June we received a reply from James Sandford explaining that he would be busy travelling on business throughout July, but requesting us to send appropriate dates to meet in early August. After liaison amongst our group to determine possible dates, we replied on 21st June offering any day between 1st and 8th August. We received no response. A reminder was sent on 24th July offering an alternative date of August 16th. We have yet to receive a reply.


UPDATE ON THE WWST APPLICATION


As I have mentioned in a previous Blog-post, we have been reliant on the goodwill of the Football Supporters Association (FSA) to endorse and sponsor our application to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to become a Community Benefit Society (CBS). As such, we have not been in control of the timings with respect to the application process. We remain very grateful to Andy Walsh and Nicola Cave at the FSA for all their hard work and the support they have provided during this process.

Our application was submitted to the FCA on 17th July and we are told that registrations can take between 2 and 6 weeks. We are now awaiting email confirmation of the approval notice. Once we have received this we will be formally incorporated as a CBS but will be unable to accept members until we have successfully applied for a bank account.


The first action of the fully-registered WWST will be to apply to Wychavon District Council to nominate Sixways Stadium and the surrounding land as an Asset of Community Value.


"Assets of Community Value (ACV) form a part of the Community Right to Bid. It acts as the first stage in identifying and nominating buildings or other assets such as land that have a main use or purpose of furthering the social well-being or social interests of the local community, and could do so into the future.

Once listed as Assets of Community Value with the local authority, the local community will be informed if they are listed for sale within the five year listing period. The community can then enact the Community Right to Bid, which gives them a moratorium period of six months to determine if they can raise the finance to purchase the asset.

What defines an Asset of Community Value?

An Asset of Community Value is defined as: A building or other land is an asset of community value if its main use has recently been or is presently used to further the social well-being or social interests of the local community and could do so in the future. The Localism Act states that ‘social interests’ include cultural, recreational and sporting interests."


We have already initiated this process but believe the council will be more likely to endorse our application once we are an incorporated body. We would welcome any help from supporters to complete our answer to the key question on the application form:


"9. What are your reasons for nominating this land or property as an asset of community value?

Please give as much information as possible, including how the asset furthers the social well-being or social interests of the community. For example current use of the asset, what activities take place there, which groups use it or have done so in the recent past."


The Trust wants to include as much information as possible in response to this question - please do email any ideas to warriorstrust@outlook.com or via the Contact Page on this website.


The next meeting of our working group is on Wednesday 16th August at the Royal Porcelain Works. We are very grateful to Carol Hart and the Warriors Foundation for providing with us with a fantastic venue. We will endeavour to keep everyone updated with any developments.



HAPPIER TIMES


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Membro desconhecido
07 de ago. de 2023

THANK YOU !!!!

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