15 October 2022

Former director of rugby Nigel Melville describes ‘deep sadness’ at Wasps plight

15 October 2022

Nigel Melville has described his “deep sadness” at Wasps’ plight as the Gallagher Premiership club lurches towards administration.

The four-time Premiership champions look set to be in the hands of administrators within days.

They have been suspended from the Premiership, following fellow crisis club Worcester in seeing their season put on hold.

Wasps were hit by by a winding-up order from HM Revenue and Customs for £2million in unpaid tax, and they also face having to repay a £35m bond which had helped finance the club’s relocation to Coventry during 2014.

Melville is now chairman of Premiership Rugby’s investor board, but served Wasps as a player and director of rugby.

“It is deep sadness, isn’t it,” he said. “I was the first director of rugby for Wasps in the professional era.

“That was a time of great transition within the game and we are reaching another of those points now.

No matter who you support, if your club goes wrong, you feel deep sadness

“Change is necessary and a reset is important to move forward. I am hopeful the resistance to change is the difference this time.

“I am hopeful that people will go with things for a better system and the betterment of the whole game.

“We all have emotional attachments to clubs. No matter who you support, if your club goes wrong, you feel deep sadness. You have got connections, it is emotional.

“It’s the same for Worcester and any club at any level. Every single club has their own history and stories and they are part of your lives.

“The important thing is to understand the emotional connection everyone has with rugby clubs.

“Let’s reset it for the betterment of the game and do the right thing for the long-term future of the English game. I am hoping we can all do that and I think we are moving to that point.

“There is deep sadness for people at Wasps and Worcester and any other club in the same position, but let’s use this as an opportunity to build a longer-lasting future.”

Premiership Rugby chief executive Simon Massie-Taylor has admitted there are “no quick fixes” as the English professional club game battles its biggest crisis.

But he insists that “bold decisions” would be made to “lay better foundations for the game”.

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