Aviva Premiership side London Wasps are in talks to buy a controlling stake of the Ricoh Arena.
According to the Coventry Telegraph the London club, who currently play their games at Adams Park, are interested in making the 32,000 seater stadium their new permanent home.
Wasps have made no secret of their desire to own their own stadium and it was recently announced they intended to play some high profile European fixtures at the midlands stadium.
Having originally planned to build a new stadium in the High Wycombe area, in conjunction with Wycombe Wanderers and the council, the club are looking at alternatives as that idea collapsed.
Hard work behind the scenes
Wasps have admitted they are working hard behind closed doors to insure the long term future of a new home ground.
All parties are remaining tight lipped on the potential agreement, which is subject to strict confidentiality agreements.
A statement released by the club at the beginning of September read: “We can confirm the search for a permanent home is continuing. However, all discussions are subject to confidentiality requirements and are therefore commercially sensitive; as such they have to remain confidential for the time being and we cannot make any further comment.”
Relocation to the midlands
At times Wasps have struggled to fill Adams Park, a stadium that has a capacity of 10,516 when rugby is being played.
However during a Heineken Cup semi-final match back in 2007 between Northampton Saints and the London club the Ricoh Arena was a sell out.
With five Premier League clubs already in London, a move to Coventry would open the club up to a new, previously untapped market, as the City’s own rugby club is currently in the third division of Rugby Union.
The stadium, owned by Arena Coventry Limited - a company part owned by the Alan Higgs Charity and Coventry City council - was without a tenant for a year as Coventry City moved their home matches to Northampton Town’s Sixfields stadium.
The well publicised return of the club to its home city took place at the beginning of the new football season, with 27,000 fans flocking to see their team return with a 1-0 win over Gillingham.
However, a move to see Wasps take a controlling share of the Arena would put the future location of the football club in to jeopardy.
Coventry's owners Sisu have stated plans to build their own purposely built stadium if a deal to buy a share in the Ricoh does not materialise, but a legal wrangle between Sisu and Arena Coventry Limited have made negotiations increasingly unlikely.
If Wasps were to push through with a deal to take control it would force the hands of the football club in to making a decision.
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