Wasps fail to repay £35 million retail bond on their stadium

Wasps hit with further financial woes as they fail to repay a £35m retail bond on their stadium, with doubts over the side’s competence this season after 11 player departures and just seven arrivals

  • Wasps have struggled to sign new players recently due to financial struggles 
  • They’re set to start the Premiership season with a smaller squad than last year
  • The club’s troubles have grown after they failed to pay a £35million bond
  • Lee Blackett’s side have less than a month to prepare for the new season 

Wasps’ preparations for the new Gallagher Premiership season have been thrown into chaos after the club was unable to meet a key deadline on the repayment of a £35million retail bond.

With the 2022-23 campaign less than a month away, Lee Blackett’s side has been hit hard by financial woes which have impacted their ability to sign new players.

The problem centres around Wasps’ buying of their Coventry Building Society Arena home in 2015. A £35m retail bond was taken out by the club in order for the purchase to go through.

Wasps have struggled to sign new players recently due to mounting financial issues

Friday’s deadline for a ‘refinancing and redemption’ of the bond was missed by Wasps. The club admitted that would happen in a financial statement released last month.

Wasps owner Derek Richardson has insisted the club will not enter administration despite their financial problems.

‘We are not in administration and we are not going to be,’ Richardson told The Times.

Wasps have asked for another extension to the refinancing which is held by banking giants HSBC.

The club says it has ‘been pursuing different refinancing options in addition to making progress with a number of key initiatives to increase both the profitability and asset value of the group’.

Lee Blackett’s side currently have four fewer players than they did at the end of last season

While the club battles significant financial problems, the reality is that while the bond cannot be paid back, Wasps are in trouble. They have already applied for £13m in public funds from the West Midlands Combined Authority to try and stay afloat.

With money tight, Wasps head coach Blackett has seen 11 players depart this summer and only seven arrive. It casts doubt on his team’s ability to be competitive in the upcoming campaign.

Meanwhile, concussion lobby group Progressive Rugby has described their ceasing of discussions with World Rugby as ‘disappointing’ and ‘baffling’.

Alan Gilpin claims the accepted number of players involved in a concussion lawsuit is too high

World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin has suggested the number of former players involved in a concussion lawsuit against the game’s governing bodies is smaller than the acknowledged figure of almost 200. Lawyers for the players are suing World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union for allegedly failing to ‘protect players from permanent injury’.

But with several of the players involved in the legal proceedings also working with Progressive Rugby, World Rugby has said it will no longer engage with the body.

A Progressive Rugby spokesperson said: ‘While we respected World Rugby’s decision to cease player welfare discussions, it was naturally disappointing given the critical need for genuinely independent voices to be at the table.

‘It was also somewhat baffling given World Rugby had been aware, since our formation in February 2021, that we had a very small number of members who are involved in the litigation.’

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