Rugby team Wasps to play at Sixways Stadium



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Wasps to play at Sixways Stadium Image: Worcester Warriors

The professional rugby union team Wasps Rugby Football Club struck a deal recently to play at the Sixways Stadium in England (UK), the former home of the former professional rugby union club Worcester Warriors.

‘UK Daily News’ stated that the above deal translates into the fact that professional rugby return to the Sixways Stadium just months after the Warriors were liquidated, with Wasps expected to abandon plans to move to Solihull in West Midlands County, England.

The Wasps Rugby Football Club is a professional rugby union team. They last played in Premiership Rugby, the top division of English rugby until being suspended on October 12th, 2022. On October 17th, 2022, the club entered administration, resulting in relegation to the RFU Championship, and all staff being made redundant. The Coventry Building Society Arena serves as their home ground.

The 40,500-capacity Coventry Building Society Arena (often shortened to the CBS Arena or just simply Coventry Arena, and formerly known as the Ricoh Arena) is a complex in Coventry, England (UK). It includes a 32,609-seater stadium which is currently home to the football team Championship club Coventry City F.C. along with facilities which include a 6,000 square meters (65,000 sq ft) exhibition hall, a hotel and a casino. It serves as the residence of the Wasps Rugby Football Club.

The 11,499-capacity Sixways Stadium is a stadium in Worcester, England. It is currently used for rugby union and association football matches and is the home stadium of Premier 15s side University of Worcester Warriors and Hellenic League Premier Division football side Worcester Raiders.

The Worcester Warriors Rugby Football Club was a professional rugby union club based in Worcester, England (UK) that played in Premiership Rugby, the top division of domestic rugby. Founded in 1871, in 1975 they moved to the Sixways Stadium, located to the North of the City. The team colors were gold and blue. On February 9th, 2023 new owners James Sandford and Jim O’Toole announced that the club would not attempt to resume playing games after an earlier administration.

‘UK Daily News’ further stated that Wasps were relegated from the Premier League following their own liquidation last year. They are now bidding to take part in the Championship and any move to Sixways would have to meet Rugby Football Union conditions.

In a dramatic day for the ailing former Premiership clubs, it was also announced that the Worcester Warriors will no longer exist as ‘Sixways Rugby’ join the National League 2 West following the renaming of the rugby union team Stourbridge R.F.C.

The above move means Wasps and Sixways Rugby will enter into a building-sharing agreement on the grounds of the Sixways Stadium, which has an artificial pitch.

The Atlas Worcester Warriors Rugby Club Limited confirmed on February 9th that they had withdrawn from the application process to compete as Worcester Warriors in the Championship next season, with director Jim O’Toole stating that they “comply with the terms and commercial restrictions of the unable to agree to RFU”.

Added O’Toole, “We will invest in [Stourbridge’s] semi-professional first team and they’ll play at Sixways. We will invest significantly to get them through the leagues. The plan is to reach the championship by 2026. We’re hoping we can call on former players to come over and help us move through the divisions: Some of the older guys that can still shuffle in this league, as well as the players that come from the Academy have broken through.”
 

‘The Worcester Warriors Brand is Gone’

O’Toole acknowledged that not all of the club’s previous supporters will be happy with the decision, while Stourbridge is also likely to face opposition to the sudden announcement that the club will remain a members-owned organization but will receive long-term investment from Atlas under the rebrand and move.

Added O’Toole, “This decision is clearly going to upset and upset a number of people. The sad fact of life is that the Worcester Warriors brand and Worcester Warriors business is gone. Unfortunately, the name will disappear.”

Bottom of the National League 2 West, Stourbridge could be relegated to the Midlands 1, the fifth tier of English rugby, next season. Should relegation occur, the club would need to achieve three consecutive promotions to fulfill O’Toole’s desire to reach the Championship by 2026.

Its members must vote on the plans for Stourbridge to fulfill its side of the agreement, with Rugby Director Neil Mitchell confirming it is a decision which “remains firmly in the hands” of the club’s members.

Added Mitchell, “We must respect heritage and history and remain a member club that controls our future from within.”

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) responded to Atlas’ announcement that it would consult with members of Stourbridge. The governing body has the power to block both if they feel it is not in the best interests of the game to do so.

An RFU statement read, “The RFU has made it clear that its priority has been to allow the Worcester Warriors to play in the Championship and the Worcester Warriors Women in the Premier 15s in a sustainable manner. The necessary information has been repeatedly requested and deadlines have been extended to give the best possible chance of doing so. The RFU remains committed to leading the Midlands Academy, which it took over in November, and the continuation of Worcester Warriors Women.”

The Worcester players and staff, including the Scotland international Duhan van der Merwe (South African rugby union player), have had their contracts terminated due to the club’s financial woes after being hit by a around £6million Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC – tax authority of the UK Government) bill. Former owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham have been accused of robbing the Warriors of their wealth.

The Worcester men’s side has been in the Premiership since 2015 and last season won the Premiership Rugby Cup.

Twickenham Stadium, London (UK)-based the Rugby Football Union is the national governing body for rugby union in England. It was founded in 1871, and was the sport’s international governing body prior to the formation of what is now known as World Rugby in 1886.

The Coliseum Summit EUROPE will be held at the Twickenham Stadium, UK, on March 22nd-23rd, 2023.

The Stourbridge R.F.C. is a rugby union side based in Stourbridge, West Midlands (UK) and play in the fourth tier of the English rugby union league system – the National League 2 West.

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