WORCESTER Warriors' co-owner Jason Whittingham has said the club's late financial report from the 2018-19 season will be filed in the next seven days.

Warriors are yet to file their statements from the the 18-19 campaign, which are now overdue by more than 12 months.

Alongside business partner Colin Goldring, the Warriors' owners, who also own newly promoted League One side Morecambe FC, took over at Sixways in June 2019.

Mr Whittingham spoke to the Worcester News to explain the complicated situation, outlining the three complex components delaying the financial report:

  • The acquisition period: Whittingham explains how his and Goldring's purchase of the club from the previous owners was less than simple.
  • The CVC transaction: in December 2018, leading private equity and investment advisory firm, CVC Capital Partners, became a minority shareholder of Premiership Rugby. The investment being completed in the first quarter of 2019.
  • Sport Winter Survival Package: The government provided around £130 million for the sport of rugby, with approximately £60 million of that going to Premiership Rugby. The issue here was that the owners had to use some of the money to help deal with the other complications, adding a further complication for the auditors who were already auditing the government's money.

"This accounting period in question is from 18-19, so it includes the acquisition but also the CVC transaction," said Mr Whittingham.

"They are two very complicated transactions in there that the auditors have to unpick and then produce a 46-page document for me to check to ensure they have the correct understanding.

"The acquisition was overly complicated. It was put together by an ex-business partner and the auditors have had to unpick it.

"And then the third event that occurred was the government funding that the auditors had to also get their heads around and deal with properly and effectively.

"So in one period you have the complicated acquisition, the CVC transaction and then the government funding.

"We used part of the government funding to undo some of the other complications which further added complexity to what the auditors were already doing."

Despite the accounts being due last April, Whittingham has said in the last 24 hours that the files will be made public in the "next seven days".

"So the normal accounts are fine but the auditors have to accurately report what has happened over this period and that's why it's taken them so long," he added.

"Covid has slowed it all down with people on and off furlough but I believe that this week is the final partner review of the accounts so they should be going out there in the next seven days or so.

"There is nothing to hide, we have to file the accounts but its been held up by four very complicated transactions; acquisition, CVC, government funding and then what we did with the government funding to undo some of the complications.

"The public will be able to view the accounts, they are public domain but also, the dialogue that the auditors put in there about each transaction will be useful.

"The big one is that we used the government element to help some of these complications which has slowed the whole thing down."

Whittingham admits the delayed accounts are holding up other potential deals they are trying to agree on but knows the process must be carried out properly.

"We can't do a lot of things until we file accounts, which is frustrating for us," he added.

We are trying to negotiate a new energy contract but we can't until we file the accounts, we want to do X,Y and Z but we can't until it's all done.

"We desperately want to get them filed but the auditors have an obligation to make sure its all recorded accurately and properly in a transparent way."