Wasps’ ownership of the Ricoh Arena appears to face no future challenge after a judge rejected an appeal by Coventry City Football Club for a full judicial review to be held into the sale of the stadium.
Wasps and Coventry City Council agreed a £20million deal for the Ricoh Arena to become the home of the Premiership side in 2014. A deal which was challenged by the League One club’s owners SISU who launched a legal battle arguing the stadium was worth closer to £30million to the taxpayer.
A four-year battle in the courts has ensued, as Coventry City’s owners SISU argued the buyout of the operators of the Ricoh Arena, ACL, by Wasps involved a ‘total absence of transparency’ by the city council.
Wasps buyout of ACL ramped up the length of the lease on the Ricoh Arena from 39 years to 250 years, a sizeable increase in value which SISU calculated to be worth £27million and claimed would price them out of their own bid to make the stadium theirs.
The decision by a Judge to reject SISU’s appeal against the case being thrown out last July leaves the groundshare between the rugby and football clubs down to the discretion of Wasps.
Coventry City released a statement before Friday’s court verdict voicing their desire to enter groundshare talks with Wasps over extending their tenancy, which expires next summer.
“Coventry City Football Club can confirm its intention to agree a new deal to play matches at the Ricoh Arena beyond the end of the current season,” the statement by the EFL club said.
“Coventry City has already made this clear to the stadium owners Wasps, writing to them directly on 28th September to request that talks commence to achieve this aim.
“Without agreement of a stadium to play at next season, the Club’s place in the English Football League is at risk. The Ricoh Arena is currently the only suitable option available for the club to play home matches in Coventry.”