THE takeover of Worcester Raiders by Warriors owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham has yet to be sanctioned by the FA – more than a year after it was announced.

Raiders moved to Sixways in July 2020 as part of a deal that saw Goldring and Whittingham become “joint majority owners” despite owning and holding directorships in League One club Morecambe.

FA rules state “no person, company or business institution… may at any time be interested in more than one club” without “prior written consent”.

The FA defines the term interested as “holding or dealing in the securities or shares of a club”, being “a member of that club”, being “involved in any capacity whatsoever in the management or administration of that club” or having “any power whatsoever to influence the financial, commercial or business affairs or the management or administration of that club”.

A Worcester Warriors representative said neither Goldring nor Whittingham were available for interview. No clarification has been offered as to who is running Raiders, a live issue over the past week following the shock axing of co-manager Chris Cornes.

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The FA has confirmed the process to transfer ownership is still “ongoing”, representing no change from September 2020 when they said “a request for the transfer of football memberships is ongoing and all parties are working towards meeting the requirements”.

Precedent suggests the move will be passed with so many levels between the two football clubs – Notts County and Ilkeston Town had the same owner until 2019.

Goldring and Whittingham had always clearly articulated a desire to bring a variety of sports to Sixways from the outset, in part to turn around the financial side of a Premiership Rugby outfit that historically lost millions of pounds per year.

A new company – Worcester Football Limited – was incorporated in July 2020 with Goldring and Whittingham named as directors and Bond Group Sixways Limited – a company based at Sixways which has yet to file accounts overdue since the end of June 2020 – declared as having significant control but whether it actually runs anything yet is not clear. Worcester Football Limited’s first set of accounts are not due until March 2022.

Whittingham said in September 2020 that “Raiders still operates as a member-owned club” as it had prior to the Sixways move but in July this year expressed hope that Cornes could “get us into step five (win promotion)” to be on a level footing with Worcester City.

In his July interview, Whittingham also said: "The whole point about Raiders it that it's the right thing to do.

“We have a stadium that only has 16 home games a season, now we have another 23 games on top of that but also we have an opportunity with Raiders to grow it in a sustainable way.

"We bought Raiders in knowing that it wasn't going to cost any money, it wasn't a burden to anyone or anything. It takes no money from Warriors, no money from me or Colin, it washes its face.

"There is no cash burden but the plan is to build Raiders into something that can be sustainable."

Addressing the ownership situation in September 2020, Whittingham said: “Quite a lot of paperwork is going back and forth and it is not just about the change of ownership, it is incorporating a previously-unincorporated entity and that process is ongoing. I am liaising with the league, the Worcestershire FA and the (national) FA.

“We don’t foresee any problems but to be honest it is about priorities. There are a few more pieces of paperwork to fill out but the priority is supporting the rugby industry.

“The takeover of Worcester Raiders will go ahead at some point but it is not a high priority at the moment.”