Coventry Council Sells Ricoh Arena to London Wasps
After spending a year playing 35 miles outside Coventry in Northampton, CCFC’s recent return to the Ricoh Arena was welcomed by football fans across the country. Despite this step forward, however, the issues over the ownership of the club and the stadium have continued. A recent bid from London Wasps Rugby Club to purchase ACL, the company which runs the Ricoh, has been accepted unanimously by Coventry Council, putting the future of CCFC and Coventry Rugby Club in doubt.
The bid has been accepted without a full public consultation, and without the people of Coventry knowing the full details of the deal. The Wasps chairman, Derek Richardson, now owns 100% of ACL, having paid Coventry Council and the Alan Higgs charity £2.77million each, and taking on ACL’s £14.4million loan from the council. The council claims this deal is best for the club and the people of Coventry – but how do we know if they don’t give us the full details? Our money built the Ricoh, now it’s being stolen from us by a rich businessman from the other side of the country who couldn’t care less about us or our clubs!
In 2003 when Coventry Council was debating building the Ricoh there were 3 Socialist Party councillors who held the balance of power on the council and forced a full public consultation and debate. The views of the people of Coventry and Sky Blues fans were sought and as a result the Socialist councillors voted to build the new stadium. The current makeup of the council, with 43 Labour and 11 Tory cllrs, has led to a unanimous decision taken behind closed doors to lease out our stadium for 250 years – and we don’t even know the details of the bid!
Coventry already has a rugby club and a football club – London Wasps relocating here threatens both of them. CCFC fans can also sympathise with Wasps fans whose club is being moved 80 miles across the country – why should they lose their local club?
SISU and the council have shown repeatedly that they don’t have the best interests of the club of the people of Coventry at heart – the businesspeople who own Wasps don’t either. They’ll keep on selling us down the river – the club should be owned and run by the fans.