Wasps have issued a clarification statement in their ongoing tit-for-tat row with Coventry City FC, who last week walked away from a deal that would have seen them return to the Ricoh Arena.

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Ricoh Arena landlords Wasps and Coventry had been locked in talks to see the football club return to the stadium, but last week CCFC walked away from the negotiating table. The club say they were forced to do so because of an outstanding EPL deadline and said a statement by Wasps saying they pulled out was ‘absolutely disingenuous’.

Now Wasps have hit back again, in a lengthy clarification statement, which reads: “We have been consistently clear that we would like to see Coventry City (CCFC) return to the Ricoh Arena. Everyone agrees that it is in the best interests of the supporters, the city and the local community. We have done everything in our power to make this happen and were very close to having an agreement in place which allowed the club to return – and on terms which were attractive to both parties.

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“The decision of CCFC’s owners not to return the club to the Ricoh is disappointing and we understand the reaction from their fans who were hoping for a different outcome. We share the fans’ frustration.

“We have read the comments made by representatives of CCFC in recent days and debated whether we wished to lend them any credibility by responding or to get drawn into a public war of words. However, we believe it is important to defend ourselves against the accusations levied at us, and to address and clarify certain points.”

Wasps say the did not demand an ‘indemnity clause’ to stop CCTV suing them later down the track.

“One point we have remained firm on throughout negotiations is the need to protect ourselves from future further litigious behaviour, directly or indirectly, by CCFC’s owners. The fundamental principle being that there should be no further proceedings about the ownership of the Ricoh Arena. The rationale for this is obvious given CCFC owners’ long history of legal action and their publicly stated intent to pursue all legal channels to reverse Wasps’ acquisition of the Ricoh.

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“However, Wasps did not insist on an indemnity clause as has been claimed – this claim is simply false. In addition, nothing in the agreement would have put CCFC at substantial risk, as has also been claimed.

“Wasps have incurred tens of thousands in legal costs in attempting to achieve the best possible outcome for all parties, including Sky Blue fans, which again underlines our keenness to do a deal.

“This is not the outcome Wasps were hoping for.”

Wasps also say that the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that they asked for was not an attempt to hide anything from the public.

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“We believe CCFC owner’s call to waive the NDA is nothing more than a tactic to distract fans. Their implication, that Wasps has something to hide, is defamatory. As they are more than aware, the NDA was signed by several parties who trusted in the enduring integrity and spirit of the agreement for the protection of their commercially sensitive data and of the independent individuals involved. It is misleading to suggest that it is simply up to Wasps to waive the NDA. We see this as nothing more than an attempt to publicly pass on the blame.

“CCFC’s owners have made their decision. Wasps were (and remain) surprised that CCFC owner’s withdrew from negotiations. They have never communicated to us why they withdrew – and we now have to get on with our business. We are only clarifying these points after recent articles in the press and online. We do not propose to give credibility to any other claims or distraction tactics by commenting further at this stage.

“As ever, we remain ready and willing to welcome CCFC back to the Ricoh Arena.”

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