Bosses at the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Premiership Rugby Limited (PRL) have been urged to allow Worcester Warriors to keep their P share, the stake in the Gallagher Premiership which entitles the club to a percentage of the league’s central income.
A letter, coordinated by Worcester MP Robin Walker, called on PRL CEO Simon Massie Taylor and RFU CEO Bill Sweeney not to take the P share away, arguing that doing so would make it significantly harder to maintain premiership rugby at Sixways. It was signed by key stakeholders from the sporting, political, and civic worlds with all 6 Worcestershire MPs, councillors, four former mayors, and the Heads of Department from the club all adding their names.
The signatories argue that the spirit shown by the community around the club shows a commitment to rugby of which any team could be proud. It also points to the nationwide support received from across English rugby, making the case that the best way to translate this into action would be secure a solid future for the club.
The letter was signed by the 6 Worcestershire MPs Harriett Baldwin, Mark Garnier, Nigel Huddleston, Sajid Javid, Rachel MacLean and Robin Walker, the leaders of Worcester and Wychavon city councils and the deputy leader of Worcestershire County Council. Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for rugby Mark Pawsey MP also signed the letter, as well as the heads of department from the club itself.
Signatories have continued to come forward after the letter was sent, with pro-vice Chancellor of the University of Worcester, Professor David Green, and former Mayor of Worcester Roger Knight adding their support.
The letter reads:
‘Dear Simon and Bill
The well publicised saga of Worcester Warriors and their journey into administration has the potential to show the worst of Rugby Union or the best of Rugby Union.
Whilst there are clearly lessons to be learned, we are sure you will agree that staff, players and the heads of Department have together displayed a commitment to Rugby of which any team would be proud.
Their determination to deliver games in extraordinary circumstances meant staff working voluntarily through the night unpaid or underpaid, management delivering on deadlines despite having no email or Wi-Fi, players putting their bodies and careers on the line and fans giving their all for the game of rugby. This spirit encompasses all that is great about rugby and deserves to be rewarded not punished.
The Warriors mean a huge amount to the local community and the many teams that they support are a part of the fabric of our community. We are not willing to let that go. The legacy of the late great Cecil Duckworth is something of which the whole rugby community should be proud and something we the undersigned urge you to secure.
We urge you to consider how professional Rugby Union can be supported in Worcestershire, Herefordshire and across the West Midlands and how the benefits of the Warriors academy, the Warriors Community Foundation and the aspiration that is unlocked through having a top flight professional rugby team can be preserved for future generations. We welcome the announcement that work is going on to secure the future of the University of Worcester Warriors and the Academy but we also urge you to do everything in your power to enable the Worcester Warriors to keep or earn a place back in the Premiership.
Please do not take the P share away from the club. Warriors earned its’ P share through decades of investment, please don’t allow recent events to undo the great work and dedication of so many people over so many years. Without the P share premiership rugby at Sixways will not be possible. Please consider whether a points deduction rather than relegation would be a more appropriate response to what has happened. Please consider the case for a shorter suspension and please consider how any new investor will need support from the centre to rebuild the team and the infrastructure at Sixways.
We are grateful for the expressions of support we have received from clubs all over England, the UK and the wider rugby world, their sympathy and solidarity are appreciated at this most difficult time. The best way to translate this into action is for the good of the sport to be put first and a solid future for our team to be secured.
Thanks to the prompt action of the Administrators there is real hope that a new investor can take the club forward, staff and players could be re-employed and with the galvanised local rugby community, Warriors can return even stronger. Please do all you can to ensure that the spirit of rugby, so clearly displayed by players, staff and fans at the Warriors wins through. Please help us #Together to #SaveOurWarriors’