18th Nov, 2017

Wasps move will benefit local sports clubs

Coventry Editorial 8th Oct, 2014 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

FANS of both the Sky Blues and Coventry Rugby Club have been told they have nothing to worry about after rugby union side Wasps became joint owners of the Ricoh Arena.

The Aviva Premiership side have acquired a 50 per cent stake in Arena Coventry Limited (ACL) and have confirmed their first home match at the Ricoh will take place in December.

Sky Blues fans are worried the move could force them away just weeks after returning following a season away in Northampton.

But the CEO of Wasps, Nick Eastwood, has confirmed Steven Pressley’s side will have primacy over fixtures and Wasps are looking forward to working with the League One club in the future.

“We are delighted to see Coventry City Football Club back at the Ricoh Arena and this is where we want them to remain,” said Mr Eastwood.

“We want them to stay at the Ricoh. It is their home too and we look forward to sharing it with them over the coming years.

“We understand there may be concern from Sky Blues fans about our arrival and what this might mean for their Club.

“We are keen to make this work for everyone. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with the Sky Blues.”

There are also been concerns over the future of Coventry Rugby Club who are seeking promotion to the second tier this season.

But Wasps have been in talks with the ‘blue & whites’ and there are plans to forge a close relationship between the two clubs.

Mr Eastwood added: “We are exploring running community and player development programmes together.

“We are already holding positive talks with Coventry Rugby Club about ways in which we can benefit both clubs and their supporters.

“This is not a choice between Coventry RFC and Wasps – it’s about collaboration to make sure both Clubs thrive and help each other, building attendances for each club and giving supporters even more rugby to enjoy.

“Wasps will work hard to become part of the community and help support the development of grassroots rugby in Coventry and Warwickshire.

“Our ambition is to take Wasps back to the very top of European and domestic rugby. Through this move we have finally achieved the security this club has craved for years.”

Wasps skipper and England international, James Haskell, said he understood the frustration of fans following the relocation.

But he is delighted the club have now found a place they can now call home.

He added: “The move to the Ricoh is massively exciting. For the last ten years we’ve been talking about trying to find a new home.

“We had a golden period where we were winning everything but we were unsettled off the field.

“We’ve had some amazing homes but we’ve never had a place to call our own.

“Going into the Ricoh Arena we’re finally on a big stage where we can host some of the best teams in Europe and we can host some of the best teams in the Premiership in an arena with the atmosphere everyone deserves.

“Now we’ve moved to Coventry we all need to make it work. We want to take Wasps back to where it deserves to be.

“From the players point of view we’ve got a home for the fans to follow us on that journey.”

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