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MPs respond to Wasps requesting £13m from West Midlands Combined Authority

By Stefan Frost
Coventry Building Society Arena /PA

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MPs have responded to the news that Wasps are requesting £13 million of public money from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to help fund stadium costs.


Wasps acquired a 250-year lease on the Coventry Building Society Arena in 2014 and soon after launched a bond scheme to raise further funding to support the acquisition of the stadium and pay off outstanding debts. Included in that was a £13.4m loan from Coventry City Council.

It remains unclear why Wasps have asked the local government for more money, as an official public statement is yet to be released by the club. However, questions have been raised around the viability of the Arena business, given that the latest set of filed accounts from November 2021 showed losses of about £18.5m over the past two years.

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Zarah Sultana, the Labour MP for Coventry South, and Mark Pawsey, the Conservative MP for Rugby and Bulkington, appeared on BBC News Midlands this morning to discuss the issue further.

“I think we need to know what’s going on,” Sultana said. “There are a lot of question marks about why they have requested £13 million from the combined authority.”

“Personally, as a sports fan myself I would want to centre fans’ concerns and make sure that the Sky Blues and the Wasps fans are able to watch their teams play without any problems. For Coventry City fans that has only been recently addressed.”

Sultana is referring to the recent relocation of Coventry City, who up until August 2021 had been ground sharing with Birmingham City at the St Andrew’s ground in Birmingham. The Championship team have returned to Coventry and are once again sharing the Coventry Building Society Arena with Wasps.

Pawsey is also enthused by the rekindled collaboration between Coventry City and Wasps, but believes more needs to be done to ensure the stadium is a viable financial asset worthy of investment.


“I’m delighted the relationship with Coventry City has come back again and both the rugby team and football team are playing there, but we need to get more use of the stadium as a commercial asset.

“For 16 years the stadium has been in existence and it’s had an enormous, chequered history over that time. One of the points I would make is I understood that when the stadium was developed it was intended to do a lot more commercial events like concerts. As a former businessman I’d be wanting to sweat the asset to get more use out of it.”

A decision on the financial request is yet to be reached but Sultana is adamant that one could be forthcoming if the reasons were right.

“We have to make sure everything is ok and look into the details, but if there is a good argument there, I’d absolutely support it.”



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