05 October 2022

Lee Blackett hopeful of positive resolution to Wasps’ financial struggles

05 October 2022

Wasps head coach Lee Blackett hopes there can be a positive resolution to uncertainty over the future of the financially stricken club following on from a “very honest” meeting between staff and chief executive Stephen Vaughan.

On Tuesday, Wasps Holdings Limited confirmed a second notice of intention to appoint administrators had been filed, revealing that talks were at “a relatively advanced stage” with possible investors in the face of a winding up order from HM Revenue and Customs for £2million in unpaid tax.

Wasps are also facing up to having to repay a £35million bond which had help finance the club’s relocation to Coventry during 2014, while failure to secure the finance needed to prevent administration could result in automatic relegation from the Gallagher Premiership.

The situation at Worcester has sharpened focus, with the club, which is suspended from all competitions, undergoing partial liquidation on Wednesday morning as HMRC pursues unpaid taxes in the region of £6million.

Wasps are set to return to action against Northampton on Sunday, their last match having been a 38-17 defeat to Leicester on September 27 which followed a first win of the season away against Bath.

Blackett revealed there had been a meeting on Wednesday morning – involving both Vaughan and chief operating officer Chris Holland, lasting around 25 minutes at the training ground – which he felt offered hope of a positive resolution as the club looks to move forward.

“We were updated today personally by Steve Vaughan and Chris Holland. They were both down and gave us where we were,” Blackett said.

“They explained about filing a second notice of intention to appoint the administrators. They talked about interested parties. They were very honest with the group and positive at the same time as well as being honest.

“At the moment, everything they have said to us has always been 100 per cent truth and have got the full backing of everyone here.

“They have given us nothing to say that they are not being completely honest. We are completely behind them. There is a feeling here that we are all in this together. It’s not an ‘us and them’, that’s for sure.”

Blackett added: “There is some positive stuff going forward, but I think we are all honest in the reality of where we are at.

“There are definitely interested parties, but I think until everything sorts itself out, you are always going to have that slight concern at the back of your mind.

“But at this moment in time, the positive news is there is interested parties that are very interested and we will see where we go, but the next couple of weeks is going to be going to be interesting.”

Blackett expressed his sympathy with everyone at Worcester.

“It is never nice to see and I have been through something similar myself years and years ago when I got relegated with Rotherham, so I know how tough it can be,” he said.

“I am just gutted for everyone. I know several people there really well. There is a quality group of players, a lot of quality staff and hopefully they can find jobs.”

Wasps number eight Tom Willis maintains the players just have to get on with the job in hand as they prepare for Sunday’s showdown against the Saints.

“For us as players it is out of our control, any bits like that, so all we can do is be as positive as possible on the pitch and go out there, keep improving, keep training hard,” he said.

“It is always better if you are winning regardless of circumstances you are in, so that is our focus.”

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