Ex-Worcester co-owners upset by new administration

The American-based medical company involved in the original bid to rescue Worcester Warriors from administration has condemned the latest development in the troubled Sixways club’s ownership battle.

Total Compliance Solutions (TCS) said fans "are right to be very concerned" at a new consortium called Junction 6 Ltd taking over ownership of the stadium, associated chattels and the Warriors' brand.

TCS also claim that former Warriors owners Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring remain involved, although both have strenuously denied this, saying that the TCS statement was "ridiculous and can’t go unanswered".

Along with Jim O’Toole, James Sandford and Atlas Sportstech, TCS were 3% shareholders when Atlas Worcester Warriors Ltd were announced in February 2023 by administrators Begbies Traynor as the preferred bidders.

But, when Atlas failed to repay a loan by the due date in May 2023, Loxwood Holdings - owned by Chris Holland, the owner of fellow defunct Premiership club Wasps - became 97% owners by default.

Ten months later, Loxwood then put Atlas into a pre-pack administration on 26 March, re-emerging that same day under the name of Junction 6, a company entirely owned by Holland's Loxwood.

'Leaving the taint of the past behind'

While questions remain unanswered, particularly about the return of professional rugby union to Sixways, the local feeling among fans and interested parties was that the Junction 6 takeover finally freed up a log jam that had threatened to immerse the club in total inertia.

"The last few years have been pretty traumatic for everyone connected with the club," Worcester Warriors Foundation CEO Carol Hart told BBC Hereford and Worcester. "It’s wonderful to be able to finally engage with a credible ownership that wants to support a way back."

Steve Lloyd, chairman of neighbours Worcester RFC - the city’s amateur club, said "it’s hugely positive".

"It’s about the future, moving forward and reigniting the passion for rugby in Worcester. It’s about leaving the taint of the past behind,’ he added.

When approached for their response, as well as dismissing the suggestion of any continued involvement, Whittingham and Goldring also denied allegations of land stripping and financial gain.

They told BBC Hereford and Worcester: "The statement from TCS is completely untrue. Nothing more than a fabrication.

"For clarity, we do not have any continuing involvement in the club and we do not receive any financial benefit from it.

"Before the administration, when we were working to keep the club going, a substantial seven-figure cashflow loan was delayed because of uncertainty in the economy. We had to raise funds in the meantime to pay wages.

"A parcel of land over the canal was sold to Worcester Capital Investment Ltd. Every penny from that sale went into the club along with our own money. We did not receive any financial gain from this sale and do not receive any payments from it.

"As a part of the sale we negotiated a 10-year lease back in favour of the rugby club to ensure that they could continue to use and generate income from the land.

"The ground rent payable under that lease is payable to Worcester Capital Investments.

"WCI is nothing at all to do with either Bond Group or us personally and we do not receive any benefit from it. Ownership can be confirmed on both Land Registry and Companies House."

But TCS told BBC Hereford and Worcester: "A lot of fans and community members have raised questions and concerns. They are right to be very concerned.

"We have witnessed and endured improprieties and what we deem as gross negligence from several parties and institutions in this transaction.

"This includes but is not limited to the previous owners Colin and Jason’s continued involvement and financial gain at the cost of this community, team and staff.

"We have discovered that some of the land has been stripped and isn’t a part of the sale. A certain payment for a period of 10 years has been applied to this site so that no matter who purchases this, the cowboys continue to benefit financially."

BBC Hereford and Worcester approached a range of groups and individuals previously involved with Warriors over the TCS allegations.

While there was no response from the majority of them, Quantuma, the administrators who oversaw the pre-pack change of ownership, did reply.

Their representative Brian Burke issued the following statement: "Andrew Watling and I of Quantuma were appointed as joint administrators of Atlas on 24 April and sold the business and assets of the company to Junction 6 on the same day.

"The sale secured the continued trading of the stadium, preserving the employees' jobs with no disruption to stadium operations.

"We would ask that any person with information or concerns about the history of the company and its activities to provide details so that we can consider such matters in accordance with our statutory duties."