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Sixways statement: Financial collapse of Worcester owners Atlas

By Liam Heagney
Worcester Warriors' Sixways Stadium (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Atlas Worcester Warriors have fallen into administration with Loxwood Holdings, the group company that owns Wasps, stepping in to take over the former Sixways-based Gallagher Premiership club.


It was only last May when the Jim O’Toole and James Sandford Atlas consortium became owners of the Sixways-based club that hasn’t played since its suspension by the RFU in September 2022.

It has emerged that this deal only got over the line 11 months ago when Loxwood stepped in to provide financial assistance to Atlas so that they could complete their takeover deal with the administrators, Begbies Traynor.

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This financial assistance was only supposed to be a short-term position. However, despite this funding including the means to meet the operational costs of the stadium, Atlas were unable to meet its ongoing financial obligations and it entered an insolvency process.

Rather than seek the liquidation of Atlas, which could have resulted in the closure of the stadium, Loxwood instead sought to arrange a pre-packaged administration process that would ensure the stadium’s continuous trading. A newly incorporated group of companies funded by Loxwood have now acquired the business and assets of Atlas.

A Sixways Stadium statement read: “In May 2023, a group company that owns Wasps RFC stepped in to financially assist Atlas Worcester Warriors in completing the purchase of the former Worcester Warriors rugby club from its administrators.

“That financial assistance was only intended to be a short-term position to help and assist in the eventual recovery of Worcester Warriors and to allow Wasps a short-term option to play at Sixways Stadium in Worcester, as part of their committed and determined relocation to an eventual new stadium in Kent.


“Unfortunately, despite Loxwood’s financial assistance, which included providing funding to meet the operational costs of the Stadium, Atlas was unable to meet its ongoing financial obligations and, as a result, Atlas has entered into an insolvency process.

“Given that the ultimate and stated aim of Loxwood has always been to protect and recover elite-level rugby in a sustainable way, we embarked on a strategy which involves forming a newly incorporated group of companies who have acquired the business and assets of Atlas.

“Facing this position, Loxwood were left with a difficult choice. Either seek the liquidation of Atlas which could have resulted in the closure of the Stadium or seek another solution, through a pre-packaged administration process.

“This would ensure the continued trading operation of the stadium, with funding being provided to energise the commercial operation and at the same time support active steps to preserve and return elite level rugby, as Worcester Warriors.


“Elite level rugby is important to Worcester, and we have had proactive dialogue with the RFU and the Championship, including giving formal notice of the intent to return Worcester Warriors to the second tier of English rugby.”

When Atlas finally completed its transaction with the administrators last May, its owners claimed it would soon deliver its vision for rugby in the area.

statement at that time read: “Atlas WWRFC are delighted to confirm they have completed the transaction with the administrators and now look forward to delivering their vision for rugby, the business, and the wider community at Sixways.


“Atlas thank Begbies Traynor and their advisors for their collaborative approach, alongside the Warriors fans and wider rugby community for their patience and support.

“Atlas would also like to acknowledge the role of Aaron Harlow and his team at Shoosmiths in guiding us through this challenging and complex process from start to finish.

“A final special thanks and recognition must also go to the staff at Sixways who have kept the venue operation going successfully. Their tireless work continues to keep people employed whilst successfully delivering for a range of clients during challenging circumstances.

“Atlas acknowledges they have been quiet in the media until today, having been focused on the complexities of the deal and the various elements required to regenerate a sustainable business for the community of Worcester.

“They will announce the next fans forum date soon as they push forward to ensure a bright future for all at Sixways.”



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