Wasps hit back over CBS Arena pitch claims - The Coventry Observer

Wasps hit back over CBS Arena pitch claims

Coventry Editorial 11th Aug, 2022   0

WASPS have hit back at claims the club failed to improve the Coventry Building Society Arena pitch with a strongly-worded statement.

The pitch at the stadium was deemed ‘unsafe and unplayable’ after hosting the rugby sevens event at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

And this led to Coventry, who are tenants of the ground which is owned by landlords Wasps, calling off their match against Rotherham United following a pitch inspection last weekend.

The football club were also forced to move their Carabao Cup tie against Bristol City in midweek with the game played at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium.

Coventry claimed that “promised investment by the Arena into a new pitch has unfortunately not materialised over the Summer” however Wasps released a statement on Tuesday night addressing the state of the pitch.

Stephen Vaughan, Wasps Group Chief Executive said: “We were saddened to see that information and stories have been put out in the press without our prior knowledge, and this message has been relayed to the football club.

“In May we informed CCFC that we would not be relaying the pitch. No objection was raised to that course of action then or at any other time.

“The contract to host events for the Commonwealth Games was agreed and signed before CCFC committed to return to play their games at the Arena. They were fully aware of the timetable of events.

“We were advised that a number of games should be played away from home at the start of the football season to allow sufficient time for the pitch to be prepared, but we were informed by CCFC that this was not possible.

“Sixty-five Rugby 7’s matches were played at the Arena in three days and a pitch, new or established, could not withstand that amount of wear and tear, and then be in pristine condition a week later, regardless of the efforts of the ground staff.

“Maintaining a pitch with two sports on it is always a challenge, so the recent unique set of circumstances has been particularly difficult and has naturally put the pitch under enormous strain.

“The business has a number of priorities to deal with. Despite what some may think, we want CCFC to play all their home games here, and it benefits no-one when there are issues such as this played out in public with incorrect or missing information.

“Tomorrow’s Carabao Cup game was moved from the Arena without a further pitch inspection, which is the prerogative of the football club, but I hope they and the officials feel they are able to play next week’s home game here at the Arena.

“We have agreed that an independent agronomist selected by the EFL can come to the Arena and carry out their own inspection of the pitch.

“We hope they feel it is able to be played on and I know, as professionals, they are aware and understand the circumstances surrounding the pitch recently.

“It is extremely disappointing to, yet again, be defending ourselves against rumour and accusation, particularly as it’s the supporters of CCFC and Wasps who are having to deal with the fallout.

“We won’t be getting involved in a protracted, public discussion about this, which serves no-one’s interest, but felt we needed to ensure people had the correct information.”

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