COVENTRY taxpayers spent £2,350 on the civic reception for Wasps rugby club attended by 78 council guests and councillors, we have learned.
We have also obtained details of a similar event next week for league-winning Coventry rugby club at the same venue – the medieval St Mary’s Guildhall.
We reported earlier this month on a press release, only issued AFTER the Wasps reception, to inform the public it had taken place.
It was held to celebrate formerly London Wasps’ 150-year history, four of them in the city.
The press release waxed lyrical about Wasps’ supposed success story and great contribution to the Coventry community.
It was despite the community division expressed daily on social media since Coventry City Council’s controversial Ricoh Arena sale to Wasps in 2014, which many argue disadvantaged Coventry City Football Club and Coventry rugby club.
The press release, issued by Wasps’ representatives Advent Communications, did not outline what happened at the event, or the cost to taxpayers.
We asked Coventry City Council to provide those details for the public and council taxpayers.
The council told us the early evening event involved a “buffet meal” and 78 seated guests.
They comprised 23 from the council including councillors and “a few officers”, and 55 from Wasps – “predominantly players of rugby and some netball players, coaches and directors.”
The total cost to the taxpayer was £2,359.11, the council told us.
It added: “A civic reception for Coventry Rugby Club will be held by the Lord Mayor of Coventry councillor Tony Skipper on 1 May at St Mary’s Guildhall.
In a statement attributed to the Lord Mayor, it added: “Coventry is a great sporting city and we’re really proud of the success of all our teams.
“This is why I’m delighted to host a civic reception for Coventry Rugby Club’s following their recent promotion to the Championship.”
The evening event takes place on Tuesday, May 1.
The council added in response to our questions: “We are expecting 26 from the city council – cabinet members and a few officers, 75 from Coventry Rugby – a combination of players, directors, coaches and other staff.
“We expect a slightly increased cost to that for the Wasps due to the higher numbers. It be exactly the same format as for Wasps.
“Guests will arrive. The Lord Mayor will give a warm civic welcome. Jon Sharp as (Cov rugby’s) chairman will respond.”