Coventry & Warwickshire

Wasps move to Coventry Ricoh Arena is considered

Ricoh Arena Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Coventry City agreed a deal to return to the Ricoh in August

The future of Coventry's Ricoh Arena could be decided by city councillors next week in a move that could see rugby club Wasps buy a stake in the ground, the BBC understands.

The council jointly owns the stadium with charity the Alan Higgs Trust.

The Premiership rugby club has previously been linked with a move to the Midlands.

It said it was looking for a new home, but any discussions were confidential and commercially sensitive.

The BBC understands councillors are due to meet in private on Tuesday to discuss the future of the stadium.

The Ricoh's operator Arena Coventry Limited (ACL) said it was unable to comment on matters related solely to its shareholders.

In August, League One side Coventry City agreed a two-year deal with ACL to return to the stadium, following a long-running row over rent.

The Sky Blue Trust supporters' group has previously expressed concerns about the rugby club taking a stake in the ground.

The football club declined to comment, saying it was a matter for the council and the Alan Higgs Trust.

The charity has also refused to comment, and the council declined to confirm a meeting was due to be held next week.

However, in a statement the council said it was "committed to consider all options available to not just protect but also maximise the potential of the Ricoh Arena".

It continued: "It belongs to the people of Coventry and we've always been clear that any decision about its future will be made with the interest of Coventry taxpayers and communities across the city at heart."

It added that any discussions with interested parties would remain confidential.

Wasps have spent the last 12 years at Adams Park, High Wycombe, but have been looking for a new home.

In an earlier statement the club said: "Wasps has made no secret of our desire to find a permanent home which reflects the ambitions of the club."

However, it said ongoing discussions meant it could not comment further.

The club has previously played at the Ricoh, attracting a crowd of more than 21,000 for a Heineken Cup match in 2007.

Any move by Wasps would still require both Premiership and Rugby Football Union approval.

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