Wasps suspended from Premiership and will be relegated, RFU confirms

Wasps have been officially suspended from the Premiership for the rest of the season and the Rugby Football Union has confirmed the club’s relegation to the Championship next term. The move was expected by the RFU, given Wasps were put into administration earlier this month with 167 employees – including all players and staff – made redundant and it leaves Premiership officials now planning to see out the rest of the season with just 11 clubs.

Wasps will enter next season’s Championship if investment is forthcoming but there are no guarantees, with the former chief executive Stephen Vaughan recently revealing the club are more than £100m in debt. Wasps are in effect now in the same position as Worcester and they can appeal against their relegation if they can show evidence of a “no‑fault” insolvency.

Upon launching a consortium to take over Worcester, Steve Diamond said he expected the Warriors to face a number of years to get back into the Premiership and Wasps are facing a similar situation, assuming they can secure investment. As was the case with Worcester, the RFU has stipulated that it will be a condition of the deal that all rugby creditors are paid.

Two teams dropping out of the Premiership for the rest of the season wreaks havoc with the fixture list and leaves clubs six-figure sums out of pocket but it is understood that attempts to redraw the schedule have previously failed because there has not been unanimous agreement.

Efforts are expected to continue, however, while earlier results involving both Worcester and Wasps have been scrubbed from the table. Meanwhile, Premiership Rugby and the RFU have been summoned for questioning by the House of Commons digital, culture, media and sport select committee on 24 November.

“The RFU is encouraged by the progress made by the administrators and it has taken the decision to suspend the team in order to support the prospect of securing a deal with the right investor and giving the club the best chance for a long term sustainable future,” read an RFU statement. “Any potential investors and management will require due diligence and approvals from the RFU and PRL [Premiership Rugby Limited]. A condition of any potential deal will include a requirement for the payment of all rugby creditors. The decision also gives certainty to PRL and Premiership rugby clubs to protect the integrity of Gallagher Premiership Rugby and allow clubs and their teams to plan for the rest of the season.”

A handful of former Wasps players, including Brad Shields, Vincent Koch and Paolo Odogwu, have found new clubs, while Jack Willis finds himself in the bizarre position of preparing for England’s autumn internationals campaign without a domestic team.