Worcester Warriors director of rugby Steve Diamond admitted after his side’s loss to Exeter that the future of the crisis-hit Warriors remains seriously uncertain.
The cash-strapped club met Friday’s deadline to be cleared to complete this game narrowly, but Diamond warned a line had to be drawn somewhere.
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) said it would continue to work with the owners of Worcester over funding and potential takeover proposals with debts reaching £25million and many players and staff having no still received their full August salary.
Diamond said after Sunday’s 36-21 loss to Exeter at Sixways: “I don’t know how long we can continue with this as I have been advised that negotiations are taking place behind the scenes but I am not involved in them. .
“In the professional era, no director of rugby should be forced to deal with such a situation because the players have not received their August wages.
“There are limits to the number of times players or staff can show up in goodwill without being paid and it is impossible for anyone to work without internet and heating with winter just around the corner.
“We hope to fill out the game with Gloucester on Wednesday. We wanted to bring in a few players on loan, but at the moment we can’t afford to pay the appropriate sum to the RFU.
“I hope the money we took today can be used and not disappear into a black hole because we are on never-never right now.
“Really, I don’t know how long we can go on with the liquidation request that is expected at the end of September, a line has to be drawn somewhere.”
Despite their off-field issues, Worcester played with a huge commitment against Exeter, but the Chiefs still had the advantage.
The visitors scored five tries to claim victory, with Richard Capstick grabbing a brace and Olly Woodburn, Jack Maunder and Joe Simmonds also crossing.
Alex Hearle, Gareth Simpson and Ollie Lawrence landed in response at Worcester, but that wasn’t enough to prevent the Warriors from collapsing for a second straight loss this season.
Diamond said: “I’m very proud because it was a performance with a big heart, but the players will always be ab ***** king because we conceded 16 penalties, lost half of our line-ups and scored on just three of our 10 invasions in their 22.
“Despite all the fuss off the pitch, we have to be better than that.”
Warriors skipper Francois Venter added: “What’s going on in the background is mentally difficult but hopefully it gets sorted out. We still don’t know the position but it will be very upsetting if it’s our last game on this pitch.”
Exeter’s victory leaves them two wins from two this season and, although he still seems to have the upper hand, Chiefs head coach Ali Hepher insists they always knew it would be tough.
He said: “At the start of the day we knew it would be a tough game because they would be very motivated.
“We got it right in the first half but then went off script before bouncing back to get the tries when we needed them.
“Their home crowd was fantastic and we hope things work out for them because we like coming here because it’s always a competitive game.”