Beleaguered rugby union outfit Wasps have been handed a stay of execution after their administrators accepted a takeover bid from a consortium led by the club’s former stars.
The London/Coventry side had entered administration after their debts spiralled out of control, and an unpaid HMRC bill ultimately left Wasps chiefs with no choice but to ask for help. That forced 167 players, coaches and members of support staff into redundancy.
The move also saw them automatically relegated to the Championship for the first time in their modern history, although the buyout will at least ensure Wasps live to fight another day.
The joint administrator, Andrew Sheridan, said:
“This deal is a significant step forward, one that we all hope will allow Wasps Rugby to live on.”
The consortium, led by the Wasps Legends charitable foundation, includes former players such as the title-winning Peter Scrivener, Solomon N’Jie and Chris Braithwaite, and their mission is to now pass the fit and proper person’s test that all prospective club owners must satisfy.
They will also be required to detail a business plan for the next three to five years, which will need to show how finances will be stabilised. The group will also need to find players and coaches willing to sit out this season, with Wasps suspended from all domestic competitions until the 2023/24 campaign.
Sadly, the takeover deal does not include the women’s Wasps rugby team and their netball offshoot, and so they will have to find a financier of their own.
Coventry City to Play On Despite Wasps Uncertainty
Wasps have been part-owners of the Coventry Building Society Arena, the ground they have played at since upping sticks from London in 2014.
They own their share alongside Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), a holding company that is also facing administration if they cannot find a buyer soon.
The situation is so dire that Coventry City, who are effectively tenants of ACL and who play their home games at the venue, have been forced to look into alternative arrangements should they be locked out of the former Ricoh Arena.
It’s thought that Tuesday’s game between the Sky Blues and Blackburn Rovers will go ahead as planned at the stadium, although the longer term future is unknown until ACL’s position is made clear.
— Coventry City (@Coventry_City) October 31, 2022
It’s been something of a disastrous campaign for Coventry City at home, with three of their opening home games this season postponed due to the poor state of the playing surface. That has been attributed to the Commonwealth Games, during which a number of rugby games were played at the stadium in quick succession in scorching temperatures.
A lack of gate receipts had caused something of a financial black hole for the club, although they have been granted a ‘time to pay’ extension by HMRC after they fell behind on debt repayments.