Chris Holland: Wasps owner’s firm becomes Worcester Warriors majority shareholder

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Image caption,

Sixways has been Worcester Warriors’ home since 1998

Wasps owner Chris Holland has become the majority shareholder in Worcester Warriors, reports BBC Hereford & Worcester.

Atlas is led by former Warriors chief executive Jim O’Toole and ex-London Irish player James Sandford.

However, Worcester have remained in administration, with Atlas required to pay a further £1.18m by 9 October and having yet to complete their purchase of the club’s Sixways Stadium and the surrounding land.

Both Wasps and Worcester were expelled from the Premiership last season after going into administration because of financial problems.

Atlas have a licence to use Sixways as their trading premises – and it will be occupied by Premiership Women’s Rugby side Warriors Women and non-league football club Worcester Raiders in 2023-24.

In May, Loxwood Holdings made a loan to Atlas to help secure a lease for Wasps to play Championship rugby at Sixways.

Wasps confirmed in a statement that playing at Sixways was an option but insisted it has “no interest at all in the property other than a lease to play first-class rugby in the stadium”.

Mr O’Toole told BBC Hereford & Worcester at the time: “It is a security of tenure deposit for Wasps to play at Sixways.”

He did not wish to comment when asked by the station about the newest developments.

Neither Worcester nor Wasps registered with the Rugby Football Union to compete in the 2023-24 season. The earliest either could compete again is September 2024.


BBC Hereford & Worcester political reporter James Pearson

In a nutshell it seems Jim O’Toole and James Sandford, the driving forces behind the purchase of Worcester Warriors as a company back in May, are no longer shareholders in the club – though on paper they remain directors.

According to an update on Companies House – posted on Monday – they sold their shares in the newly-formed Atlas Worcester Warriors Rugby Club Limited back in June.

Instead we have now have a new majority shareholder – 97% of Worcester Warriors is now owned by a company called Loxwood Holdings Limited.

That’s a company that’s owned by Chris Holland, the current owner and director of Wasps. This isn’t the first involvement between the owner of Wasps and Warriors.

Back in May, through his company Loxwood Holdings, Holland gave Atlas a loan to help secure a three-year lease for Wasps to play Championship rugby at Sixways.

That didn’t materialise but that loan was secured against the land and stadium at Sixways, though at the time Wasps denied any interest in developing the property.

So it appears we now have Wasps’ owner as majority shareholder of Worcester Warriors, with some security on the land and stadium, and seemingly in the driving seat for Worcester Warriors’ future.

Credit To Onwer