Rugby Union

Wasps set for Coventry move in December

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London Wasps have confirmed that they will play their home matches at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry after the club bought a 50% stake in the stadium, reports BBC Sport.

The controversial move will see Wasps embark on a joint venture with Coventry City Football Club as they will now own the ground along with Arena Coventry Limited, allowing the League One club to continue to play their matches at the Ricoh.

However, the relocation of the Aviva Premiership side has sparked outrage amongst the club's fans, who are disappointed at moving from current home Adams Park, which is located in High Wycombe.

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According to the Daily Mail, Wasps supporters are planning to stage a protest following the news, which was confirmed this morning.

Wasps' move received unanimous backing from Coventry City Council last night, but Rob Smith - who was involved with the club for over 40 years as a player and coach - is disappointed with the relocation.

"I want the club to be financially secure, but there is a time when you draw the line and say I prefer the club to stay even if that means going down the leagues rather than be transported elsewhere," he said.

"You get so attached to a club and stay with them. Coventry isn’t a million miles away but it might as well be."


Fans of the London-based side also feel betrayed with the move after they were promised they would return to their roots in the capital.

This has not proved to be the case but despite anger within Wasps' fanbase, Premiership chief executive Mark McCafferty feels it can only be a positive move for a club that was saved from extinction only 18 months ago.

He said: "We have no doubt this was a very difficult decision to make, for all those involved, but we know the club has considered all options and concluded that it is the best route to secure Wasps' long-term future.

"It is a positive and significant move by a club determined to re-assert itself at the top of the domestic and European game."


Wasps captain James Haskell meanwhile can see both sides of the argument, and he admitted it would be "scary" to be moving to a new place.

"It's a shame it was unable to be communicated earlier but in business you have disclosure agreements," he said.

"The truth has come out today and it's all very exciting. The Ricoh is a world-class venue with amazing facilities.

"I have massive empathy for the fans. I am one myself. I have a double perspective on this, having been a fan from the age of 12 and a player from the age of 17."

Haskell has played at the Ricoh before - in a Heineken Cup match with Munster in 2007 - and insists the move was all about maintaining the future of the club.

He added: "It's a little bit scary going into a new place, and it's sad to leave London, but there was no other choice. You can't sustain a business on gates of 5,000.

"You can't lose £3m a year in any walk of life. This was about survival."

Rugby Union
Aviva Premiership
London Wasps

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