Wasps given hope by financial takeover
With the news that Wasps had been suspended from the Premiership for this year, the future looked bleak. The club followed Worcestershire Warriors in entering administration, leaving just eleven clubs to finish the season.
Wasps were estimated to be around £112 million Debt, by far the most of any side in the Premiership.
To salt the wounds, the women’s team and netball club were also removed from their respective competitions. Wasps Netball won the Super League in 2017 and 2018 meaning their absence this season will be sorely missed.
However, a consortium of ex-owners, wasp legends and others have agreed to purchase the club. The deal is still under contract, with the RFU still awaiting final approval, but a resurgence of the Wasps next season is very likely.
Wasps recently published a statement on the October 17thstating that Wasps Holdings Limited had been placed under administration. It seems the club doesn’t want to count their chickens before they’ve hatched as this takeover hasn’t been publicized.
This resurgence of the Wasps may not go entirely smoothly, however, with numerous players already moving to other clubs. Star Fly half Charlie Atkinson joined the Leicester Tigers and he’s far from the only one.
Vincent Koch and Paolo Odogwu both recently signed Stade Français, with Koch joining the club, who had never played for Wasps due to international duties and illness. This illustrates the difficulties of such a precarious situation.
A total of 167 players and staff were made redundant as a result of the administration. These are all staff who will need to be replaced or reinstated once the club is reinstated by the RFU. Many of them will have joined new clubs, so the club is bound to bring in a mix of old and new faces.
This number may not be as bad as it first seems, However, as applies to the men’s and women’s rugby teams and the Wasps netball team. Therefore, the burden is somewhat shared between aspects of the club.
It will be interesting to see if news owners prioritize any of the individual branches if and when they adopt Wasps. Given the netball team’s recent successes, it’s hard to imagine how they could justify axing the club. However, for a consortium involving ex-rugby players, I don’t think that necessarily guarantees that they will broaden their focus beyond the men’s rugby team.
Perhaps one assumes the worst when one is critical of the new owners. The main result of the takeover is that a sports club on the brink of dissolution looks like it’s about to return, which is the best outcome for fans and neutrals alike. All eyes will be on Wasps if and when they return to professional rugby next season to see if they can return to their former best.
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