THE LEADER of the council believes the Ricoh Arena can now become a world class sporting facility after the council sold its share in the stadium to the Aviva Premiership side.
Councilors voted unanimously this week to proposals that would see the council make a return on its original £13.7million investment into the stadium by handing over ownership of ACL to Wasps in a deal reported to be worth £30million.
A vote was held in private on Monday evening following weeks of negotiations with Wasps who have previously been based in London.
The deal will not have a direct effect on the Sky Blues who will remain at the venue on a two-year rent deal, with an option for an extra two years, and the League One club will also have primacy over fixtures.
“The decision about the Ricoh Arena’s future has been made with the interest of Coventry taxpayers and communities at its heart.” said council leader Ann Lucas.
“This deal would not have happened if it threatened the future of the Sky Blues or Coventry Rugby Club.
“This is the most important decision this Council has ever made about the future of one of its best community assets, and we would not have made it unless we were confident it was the right thing to do.
“It’s really important for the city and its future. This sees significant investment by a successful sports franchise that believes Coventry is the place to develop a world class sporting facility and is here for the long term.”
Both the council and Wasps have confirmed they will be looking to develop links with Coventry Rugby Club, with some fans fearing it could have a negative impact on the National League One outfit.
Wasps fans have also expressed their anger but the rugby union side confirmed in a statement that they are delighted with the move.
It read: “It is no secret that the Club has been searching for a permanent home for many years. We are very excited to be in a position to fulfil 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.
“It’s important to us to make clear that we see the Ricoh as the home of Coventry City Football Club and are committed to it staying that way, and that we are already working with Coventry Rugby Club to ensure both clubs thrive and grow.”