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Problems Cubed; Déjà vu.

Updated: Apr 16

Within a couple of days of the Worcester Warriors Women's team being withdrawn from all competition, the club's season ticket holders, including several members of the WWST board, received the following email from a contact address at Warriors Women:

"Dear Season Ticket Holders and Millennial Club Members,

We are writing to provide you with important information regarding your season tickets and Millennial Club memberships. Regrettably, Worcester Warriors Women withdrew from participation in all competitions on Tuesday, October 17th, leading to the decision to close Worcester Warriors Women Ltd as a business over the next 4 to 8 weeks.

Refund Information: Full refunds for all purchased season tickets and Millennial Club memberships will be processed within the next 8 weeks.

We understand the disappointment and inconvenience this may cause and please accept our sincere apologies. Once again, we apologise for any inconvenience this situation may cause and appreciate your understanding during this challenging time.

Kindest regards,

The Warriors Team"

The email was also copied to a staff member of Cube International Limited, presumably with their understanding of its significance. Cube international, founded by local businessman Andy Moss, had been owners of Worcester Warriors Women since November 2022. The company had initially agreed to acquire the women's team on an interim basis, until the sale of Sixways and WRFC Trading Ltd. had been completed. However, with no end to that process in sight, Cube announced a ten year funding deal in January 2023, sparking huge optimism for the long-term stability of the women's club.

Given that this is the only communication that supporters (and now creditors) of the club has received, patience has begun to run thin a full 12 weeks later. WWST has been approached by several disgruntled fans, asking if we have any information as to the whereabouts of their refunds. Sadly, until now, we did not but, having delved more deeply, we will now attempt to shed light on the sorry story.

The ensuing dateline shows just how rapid the downfall of Cube International (and hence the Worcester Warriors Women's team) has been. Much of the story has not been well publicised in our local, or indeed national, media but it has made headlines on an island in the middle of the Irish Sea:

  • January 2023: Cube Partnership Limited (a subsidiary of Cube International) is awarded a lucrative 3 year contract to supply the Isle of Man (IoM) TT official merchandise.

  • 19th January 2023: Worcester Warriors Women confirm a 10 year funding plan agreed with their owners, Cube International Ltd.

  • 20th March 2023: Warriors Women confirm they will be playing in the Premier 15s league in the 2023/24 season.

  • April 2023: Andrew Graham (former Chairman of Hereford FC) joins Cube International as CEO with Andy Moss remaining as Managing Director.

  • July 2023: Cube Partnership Ltd goes into voluntary liquidation. IoM TT contract is novated to Cube International.

  • 16th September 2023: Warriors Women kick off the new season with a cup game away at Saracens.

  • 9th October 2023: Andrew Graham is announced as Chairman and new owner of the companies that make up the Cube International group in what is described as an amicable management buy out. Andy Moss resigns as director but is retained within the business.

  • 14th October 2023: Worcester Warriors Women demolish Sale Sharks Women 49-14 at Sixways.

  • 17th October 2023: IoM Government terminates the contract for its TT merchandise with Cube International, citing breach of contract. IoM press reports that Cube owes over £100k to the Manx government.

  • 17th October 2023: Warriors Women's rugby team removed from all competition with immediate effect; subsequently the club is dissolved.

  • 23rd October 2023: Andrew Graham resigns from the board of Cube International Limited. Andy Moss is reappointed as director and remains listed on Companies House as owning >75% of the company's shares.

  • 31st October: Isle of Man newspapers report that their Enterprise Minister, Tim Johnston, has confirmed that Cube owe IoM businesses £65k and their government £160k.

  • 14th November 2023: Cube International Ltd. file a notice of intent to appoint an administrator, represented by lawyers, Harrison Clarke Rickerbys.

  • 4th December 2023: IoM Today reports that the Department of Enterprise confirms the above moneys are still outstanding but that Cube are looking for third party investment to help pay their debts.

  • 20th December 2023: Cube International Ltd. advise the Isle of Man Department of Enterprise that it has appointed corporate insolvency specialists Leonard Curtis as administrators. All staff at Cube International have already been made redundant prior to this appointment.

  • 4th January 2024: The Isle of Man government confirms the above. The Cube International website and social media outlets have already been taken down.

It is deeply saddening to see what has happened to this once thriving Worcestershire business. I do not know Andy Moss but, from what I have heard, he has worked tirelessly to support grassroots sport. His selflessness in investing in the future of Warriors Women must be applauded. In 2022, Cube employed 60 staff; we must think of those people and their families and dearly hope that they have managed to find alternative employment. Presumably they would have had a Christmas to forget.

When the men's team went under, they were brought down by unscrupulous owners who were doing their best to save themselves rather than the club. With the women's team, however, the opposite has transpired - the rugby club must surely have contributed to the downfall of the owner, while he sacrificed the stability of his own business in trying to save the team.

Surely it is time for a complete reinvention of the way rugby is run, not just in England but across Great Britain, The game has been living way beyond its means ever since turning professional in the mid 1990s.

In the meantime, we must wait, with not so bated breath, for another email from another administrator telling us that we are unsecured creditors and should not expect the refund that was so tantalisingly promised on October 19th last year.

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