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Wasps latest: Football fans to protest, charity shut down

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

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Coventry City fans are planning to protest at the Coventry Building Society Arena when Wasps play their first match of the new 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season next month against Bristol. Relations between the tenant football club and the landlord rugby club have become quite tense in recent weeks after damage to the playing surface from the hosting of the Commonwealth Games Rugby 7s events at the ground resulted in two Coventry City home matches being postponed and another being moved 40 miles away to Burton.

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Both clubs have released media statements that have left the pitch situation unresolved and amid a climate where there is now much speculation about the financial situation at Wasps heading into the new rugby season, an action group formed by supporters of the football club is aiming to get noticed when it protests at the September 17 rugby match.

That Wasps versus Bristol fixture clashes with Coventry’s away date at Birmingham in the Championship, but the football fans believe they can still get upwards of 1,000 fans into the stadium in Coventry to protest peacefully at the rugby match.

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The newly-created Action Against Wasps Twitter account tweeted: “Wasps’ first fixture of the season is on September 17. A peaceful and lawful demonstration is to take place in protest at their treatment of Coventry City Football Club. More details to follow… Hoping to get at least 1,000 at the CBS (that will probably outnumber Wasps fans anyway).”

The emphasis will be on peaceful protest, insisted the Coventry action group. One football fan tweeted: “Block all the car parks and coach entrances for the Wasps and whoever they play. Get the game abandoned.” However, Action Against Wasps replied: “I had similar thoughts, but need to ensure any protest is peaceful and lawful.”

Wasps’ delicate financial outlook recently resulted in them being unable to honour the £35million bond that was due to be paid out in May. That scheme was launched in April 2015 shortly after the club acquired a 250-year lease on the CBS Arena, then known as the Ricoh Arena.

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The latest update on their financial troubles emerged on Tuesday when the BBC reported that Wasps Community Foundation had been “removed from the record” after failing to file its annual accounts. A club statement claimed that the charity would hopefully be reinstated shortly and that Wasps were currently restructuring its community and foundation activities.

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