The impartiality surrounding the sale of Worcester Warriors Rugby Club has been questioned after latest reports emerged of administrators involved in the process were accused of pressuring a witness ahead of a parliamentary select committee.
According to Matt Hardy of city.com “a partner at DCMS–appointed administrators Begbies Traynor warned the witness that they could be sued for defamation if they repeated allegations about preferred bidder Jim O’Toole’s Atlas consortium while giving evidence at the hearing.
“The witness told friends they felt intimidated and offended by the warning from regional managing partner Julie Palmer, which was made by email the day before the hearing in November and raises questions about possible favouritism towards Atlas.”
Last week it was announced by the club that administrators and Atlas Group agreed a contract for the Warriors to be bought. However, the Rugby Football Union refused the sale of the club until the investors made particular promises in regards to the future of the business.
According to the article the governing body stated: “In mid-December the RFU was made aware of the concerns of an individual regarding the conduct of Begbies Traynor in relation to the DCMS Select Committee Hearing.
“We have remained in contact with the individual to offer our ongoing support. The RFU has consistently raised the need for this to be a transparent and impartial process.”
Despite the allegations, the administrators’ legal team “categorically deny” seeking to “pressure a witness at the select committee hearing from testifying in any way. Ultimately, the Atlas consortium was the highest offer that was capable of implementation in the relevant timescales in accordance with the statutory duties of the administrators.”