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Worcester's application rejected but Wasps given approval to enter the Championship

Worcester Warrior's application to return to professional rugby next season has been rejected by the Rugby Football Union, though Wasps can return in 2023-24.

Wasps' approval is provided they adhere to a number of conditions to be allowed to play in the Championship.

The RFU board had been assessing the applications from bidders aiming to take over the two stricken clubs.

Both clubs were first suspended, then removed from the Premiership in October after going into administration.

Worcester, whose debts totalled more than £30m when they went under, have been the subject of a bid from former Warriors chief executive Jim O'Toole and his Atlas consortium.

Atlas accused the governing body of trying to impose "onerous operational conditions" on the group as they negotiate a takeover with administrators Begbies Traynor.

The RFU said they had "put forward a number of conditions" for the prospective buyers to meet, including commitments not to dispose of land around Sixways and the "swift" payment of rugby creditors.

"The bidders, selected by the administrators of the insolvent WRFC Trading Limited, have informed us that they are not prepared to meet these conditions, and therefore the RFU board was unable to approve their application," a statement continued.

"The RFU will now work with the administrator to enable alternative bids that would secure professional rugby at Sixways and to work together in a timetable to enable that to happen."

Their decision has triggered the renewal of the alternative main bid announced on 27 October from a consortium led by former Warriors director of rugby Steve Diamond and a previously unnamed ally, the old club's main sponsor, local Hartlebury-based businessman Adam Hewitt.

"I can confirm that Adam Hewitt and I are fully committed to bringing Worcester Warriors back to the Premiership, Diamond posted on Twitter on Thursday.

"We have the plan and the funding. Give us the opportunity. We will give you the rugby. Bring it on."

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said that, although the news was not what Worcester fans and former staff wanted to hear, the best interests of the club were their "key priority".

Sweeney said: "We are prepared to extend the deadlines to explore if an alternative bidder can be found who has the continuation of rugby in Worcester central to its business plan."

However, Atlas said in a statement on Thursday that if the RFU did not change its stance, they would look to conclude a deal "without the approval of the RFU and without returning elite level rugby to Worcester".

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