Worcester Warriors rival bidder Steve Diamond says the club would have played in the Championship this September, and still be playing under their existing name, if their offer had been accepted.
Atlas also announced a plan to merge with fourth-tier side Stourbridge.
“It looks like they’re clutching at straws,” Diamond told BBC Sport.
“There’s an old saying that, in desperate times, people do desperate things.
“What would I have done? I’d be playing in the Championship in September.”
It has been reported that the new owners Jim O’Toole and James Sandford, from the Atlas Group, did not in fact pass a ‘fit and proper persons test’ when the relegated former Premiership club’s bid to be allowed to start next season in the Championship was rejected by the Rugby Football Union on 16 December.
They had already been chosen as preferred bidders in October by administrators Begbies Traynor following Warriors’ early season financial collapse under previous owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham.
But Diamond says that his consortium, allied with Warriors club sponsor Adam Hewitt, did actually have RFU approval.
“We agreed with everything the RFU put in front of us, including paying the rugby creditors,” he said.
More to follow.