Wasps set for Coventry move

2014-10-07 21:34
Rugby Ball (Getty Images)

London - English rugby giants Wasps will be moving to Coventry after the city Council voted on Tuesday to sell the club their controlling interest in Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), the company that runs the Ricoh stadium, for £30 million.

Wasps, two-time European Cup winners and six times English champions, are also planning to build a training centre in the area which will end their long spell in the south of England as they move to the Midlands.

Their move -- which sees them end a 12 year association with Wycombe football club where they played their home games -- will not affect League One outfit Coventry City, who will still host football matches at the stadium.

Wasps owner Derek Richardson made a six-hour presentation to Coventry councillors in late-night talks on Monday ahead of the crucial vote.

Wasps are delighted that Coventry City Council have unanimously approved the sale of their shares in ACL to Wasps.

Final details of the agreement will be confirmed tomorrow morning.

Wasps released a statement and said they were delighted to have at last found a permanent home after years of looking for one and they would try and assuage their supporters qualms over having to travel much futher to see the team play.

"It is no secret that the Club has been searching for a permanent home for many years," read the statement.

"We are very excited to be in a position to fulfill this ambition and to be able to move to the Ricoh Arena; it is an outstanding Arena in a truly fantastic City.

"We understand this is an unsettling period for our supporters and we will be holding a series of meetings for our Season Ticket Holders, starting this week, where we can speak face-to-face to explain our decision and to address their concerns.

"We are also writing to each of our Season Ticket Holders.

"This decision has not been taken lightly, it has been a very thorough and detailed process and we truly believe this is the best option to secure a successful long-term future for the Club."

Coventry City Council leader Ann Lucas told the meeting the economic benefits to the city would be immeasurable.

"It is no secret we have been negotiating with Wasps," Lucas said.

"We know they are as focused on delivering success for their club, the Ricoh and Coventry.

"The benefit to having a top rugby club playing here alongside a successful football club is enormous.

"When Wasps played a European Cup match here in 2007, it brought about £6 million into the local economy."

Opposition leader Councillor John Blundell told Tuesday's meeting the Tory (Conservative) group would support Wasps' bid.

"After some initial reservations, and after listening to the arguments and after many hours of discussion, we will be minded to support the resolution subject to further consideration in private," he said.

"If Wasps are successful they would want to build a training facility in the Coventry area.

"They also want to develop rugby in the community, which alongside the work Coventry Rugby Club do will also be of great benefit to young people across the city."

Wasps have been based at Wycombe's Adams Park for 12 years, but their search for a permanent home was accelerated by Irish businessman Richardson's club takeover in April 2013.

Read more on:    london wasps  |  aviva premiership  |  rugby

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