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Concerns as Wasps rugby club look strongly linked to groundshare at National League club

There are fresh concerns as Wasps rugby club look strongly linked to groundshare at National League club Solihull Moors, say reports.

Andy Scott, chief executive of the Wasps, says that the club needs to continue to attract investment in order to be able to compete in next season’s Championship.

Scott declined to confirm reports that the Wasps were to leave Coventry where they have lived for eight years.

They are strongly connected to a new groundshare at Solihull Moors, a football club who play in the fifth tier of English football.

But Scott told BBC CWR: “Who knows how we’ll be in two or even three years?”

It had been widely claimed that they already have Rugby Football Union approval to move up the road nearer Birmingham to Solihull on a one-year deal for next season.

However Scott admits that they have not yet finalised any agreement and he remains cagey about confirming Solihull’s Damson Park as the chosen destination.

Damson Park is also home to Birmingham City Ladies – although they play majority of their home games at St Andrew’s – but also Blues Under-21s men’s team play some of their games there, as well as at Nuneaton.

“There have been a lot of places suggested,” he said. “We have a long-term plan with a long-term partner in mind. We’re working on the final terms and anything said now would be premature. But I’d say we should be able to say within weeks.

“With the timeframe we’ve got, we needed somewhere that would meet the Championship minimum operating standards, and that’s what we’ve looked for. That’s what we’ve identified. But I can’t say whether or not it would meet Premiership operating standards.”

“We’re still in talks with a number of institutional investors, which are long and understandably complex,” he said. “They didn’t want to commit until we had a licence to play from the RFU.

“We now have that clarity but there’s still a bit of uncertainty as to what the agreement is going to be after the end of the 2023-24 season, in terms of structure and promotion and relegation.

“We have a number of scenarios. Plan A is investors coming in and being able to pay a fully professional squad, although to nothing like the levels as before.

“Plan B is if they don’t, we have to cut our cloth and move to a semi-professional or even amateur model.”

“We’re confident that we can enter the 2023 season with a competitive playing squad,” he said. “But Ealing and Jersey are very strong squads – and it would be somewhat arrogant to think we could be challenging for immediate promotion after building a squad from nothing.

“If we are, then that would be phenomenal. But we have to be realistic. Just to be able to compete in the Championship is our primary focus.

“And we’ve still got a number of conditions that we have to fulfil under the RFU licence. Repaying the creditors and getting a squad together.

“We have no employees at the moment – no coaching staff, no playing staff, no support staff. They all have to be recruited.

“There’s no grace or favour from the RFU. We’re having to stand on our own two feet on this one without own resources – and that’s how it should be. Significantly, we have not brought our own P share [entitling shareholders to a percentage of the central income of the league and voting rights] down with us.”

Scott now that re-establishing their place in a community that failed to make them the well supported club they hoped to be will not be easy, or that popular – especially considering they started life in West London at Sudbury, and then shared with QPR and Wycombe Wanderers before pitching up at Coventry in 2014. Doing quite the tour of the country.

However Scott says that they can all live happily alongside each other and thinks a re-establish Wasps in the Midlands can put the past in the past and they can move on.

Birmingham Moseley resides in a 5,000-seater stadium just a few miles away at Billesley Common and playing in the third tier of the English rugby system, National League One.

“There are a huge number of clubs in the Midlands and Coventry, competing for fans,” said Scott.

“A lot of Wasps fans are also Coventry fans. A lot of Coventry fans are Wasps fans. I don’t think it’s mutually exclusive. They’re just fans of rugby.

“It’s a chance for us to build new rivalries.”

He wouldn’t rule out a potential return to the CBS Arena one day, the ground they bought in December 2014, after securing a loan from Coventry City Council.

“Who’s to say we’re not?” he said talking talking to BBC CWR’s Mikey Burrows. “And I’m not saying we are. We’ve not concluded our conversations and we’ve not signed a contract yet.

“We’ve all seen just how much, and how quickly, things can change in the world of rugby, so never say never.

“We couldn’t let Wasps go to the wall if there was any chance that we could save it but we’re not there yet. And without Chris Holland putting his own money in and waiving his right as a rugby creditor, we wouldn’t be here at all.

“But we still have a huge amount of work ahead.”

Meanwhile, there is concerns as Wasps rugby club look strongly linked to groundshare at the National League club Solihull Moors.

Coventry Rugby Chief Executive Nick Johnston described a proposed move to Solihull as “mind-boggling”.

According to Rugby Pass, Johnston said “it’s not fair, it’s not right and it shouldn’t happen”.

Johnston told the outlet: “When we heard the rumour we thought: ‘No, they surely can’t move again; with the regulations in place and out there in the public domain it’s got to be done properly this time.’

“But it would appear we were wrong – they’ve been London Wasps, Wycombe Wasps, Coventry Wasps and now it seems Solihull Wasps. Where does it stop?” There is a fundamental difference this time compared to 2014. They are now a franchise operating in our league in our backyard. We’ll be chasing the same commercial sponsors, the same fans and the same players in the same community.

“But we’re now vulnerable – we don’t know Wasps’ financial model but where are they going to come for players – to us and Moseley.

“There wasn’t enough room for a Premiership side in Coventry with Northampton, Leicester and Worcester just down the road and now there very definitely isn’t room for two Championship sides in Warwickshire. Around 375,000 people live in Coventry – it isn’t London.”

This is what fans said amid concerns as Wasps rugby club look strongly linked to groundshare at National League club…

@covjim: Good riddance..

@iflynno: Still too big for them.

@WardySBE: Still won’t fill it

@JoeyCov1: Poor Solihull

@Jd85John: Be so good to know that Coventry has finally washed its hands of the w⚓s !

@Limes_361: Cheerio. Best news all round.

@SeanIsCross: Good. Hopefully they can rebuild and have a future there. Coventry would have been a ludicrous decision.

@GeoffFrancis8: I know they moved to Coventry but aren’t they a London club?

@robsmithrugby: Well lm looking at it as we are still on tour, after all, the greatness and values of Wasps was built on Rugby tours around the globe.

@frenchie1985: Wasps fans won’t be too happy. Easy to get to Cov on public transport. Not so easy to get to Solihull Moors.

@ceritheviking: London wasps a distant memory.

@davidf124: So, this ground will not meet Premier Rugby criteria should they win the Championship and he considered for promotion, will that mean another move in 2024, maybe change their name from Wasps to Wanderers

@14f0fff17cc340c: Just feel sorry for the fans…… if thats possible! How many places have they been to now? 🤔 clearly not working!

@davidhartley2: Not another town you are going to leave in debt

@GoForItGoForIt2: Feel for Solihull Moors tbh…. Make sure you take payment up front folks 👍🏻

@rosspb: Why they dont to back to their original location in Sudbury i dont know, its where their fan base is

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