Wasps confirm opening Ricoh Arena fixture

Ricoh Arena
Wasps' first game at the Ricoh Arena was the Heineken Cup clash with Munster back in 2007

Wasps have confirmed their first game at the Ricoh Arena will be the Premiership meeting with London Irish on Sunday, 21 December.

The traditionally London-based club are moving 82 miles north of their current High Wycombe home to play in Coventry.

Nearly 3,000 people have signed a petition to protest against the move, which has seen the club buy a 50% stake in the Ricoh Arena as part of the deal.

Coventry City will continue to play there still as tenants of the stadium.

Wasps chief executive Nick Eastwood has previously described the move as a "watershed moment" in the club's history.

The ruling authority on Wasps' move to Coventry
Wasps' move to the Ricoh Arena was ratified by the Professional Game Board (PGB), which is made up of members from various bodies, including the Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby.
The RFU had already approved the ground for use as a suitable stadium for Premiership rugby - and would only have opposed the move had it involved the whole club moving 'outside its constituent body'.
Wasps' relocation to the Midlands is purely for matches and should not come into conflict with the Academy systems run by other professional clubs in the Midlands - champions Northampton, Premiership rivals Leicester and Championship side Worcester, who opened a new regional development centre in the city, at Broadstreet RFC, in May.

The club were reportedly an hour from administration when businessman Derek Richardson took over last year, but they continue to lose £3m a season playing at Wycombe Wanderers' Adams Park ground, and Eastwood has said the move will secure the long-term future of the team.

Wasps have played at Adams Park in High Wycombe for the past 12 years.

Coventry already has a long-established rugby union club, Coventry, which was formed more than 130 years ago and currently plays in National League One.

The city's councillors supported a deal to sell the authority's share in ACL - the company that runs the Ricoh Arena - to the Premiership club.

The council said the move guaranteed Coventry City Football Club's continuing tenancy at the stadium.

The football club, who recently returned to the stadium after a two-year dispute over rent, would also have "primacy over match fixtures", it added.