WORCESTER, England (AP) — It seems the Worcester Warriors rugby team is no more.
The English club was placed in compulsory liquidation and therefore automatically relegated from the Premiership last year while being pursued for unpaid tax, and was set a deadline of Feb. 14 to provide evidence that it met conditions to compete in the second-tier Championship.
However, one of the men who led a consortium that took over Worcester told the BBC on Thursday the Warriors will be renamed Sixways Rugby — after the name of the team’s stadium — and would instead be merging with fourth-tier team Stourbridge.
“This decision will clearly upset and annoy a number of people,” said director Jim O’Toole of ownership group Atlas. “The sad fact of life is that the Worcester Warriors brand and the Worcester Warriors business is gone.
“The name sadly will disappear.”
England’s Rugby Football Union would need to approve the club relocation and change of name.
The governing body said it asked “repeatedly” for information required to enable Worcester to compete in the second tier.
“Deadlines were extended to provide the best possible chance for this to happen,” the RFU said.
Players and staff at Worcester — including Scotland star Duhan van der Merwe — had their contracts terminated amid its financial problems, with the club owing Britain’s tax authority about 6 million pounds ($6.8 million). Owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham were accused of asset-stripping the Warriors.
Worcester’s men’s team had been in the Premiership since 2015. It won England’s Premiership Rugby Cup last season.
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