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Wasps complete Ricoh takeover

Wasps have completed their takeover of the Ricoh Arena, the club have announced.

The Aviva Premiership side have purchased the remaining 50 per cent stake from the Alan Edward Higgs Charity, which owned half of the Ricoh Arena operating firm Arena Coventry Limited.

The club's first match at their new Coventry home will be their Aviva Premiership Rugby clash against London Irish on Sunday, December 21.

Nick Eastwood, Wasps chief executive, told the club's official site: "We are delighted to confirm our acquisition of the remaining 50 per cent shareholding in the Ricoh Arena.

"Since the news was first announced of our move, we have been overwhelmed by the warm welcome we have received from the local community. We are looking forward to embedding ourselves in the region and helping promote rugby - something we have already committed to by making over 12,000 free tickets available to Coventry schools and rugby clubs.

"We recognise that this announcement might raise concerns amongst the fans of Coventry City Football Club. Wasps remain committed to building a long term and mutually productive relationship with the club and its supporters."

Wasps had previously bought a 50 per cent shareholding in ACL from Coventry City Council last month.

They will rename the North Stand 'The Higgs Charity Stand' and donate 50p to the charity for every Wasps match ticket sold in the stand.

Coventry's owners Sisu had tried to buy the charity's stake but it was rejected.

A statement from the Alan Edward Higgs Charity confirmed on Friday: "The Trustees having considered the conditional offer from the Joint Liquidators of CCFC Ltd have decided to reject that offer."

Coventry confirmed an offer made for the charity's stake was around £2.8million and they will continue to pursue their plans for a new stadium.

A club statement read: "Naturally, the club are extremely disappointed. Our proposal was for a far-reaching partnership with the Higgs Charity to work together on community projects.

"Despite the fact that access to critical documentation was denied, the liquidator's offer for the charity's 50 per cent stake in the Ricoh Arena was generous - around £2.8 million - and guaranteed above market value price.

"Our offer was a unique opportunity to meet the twin objectives of the club and the charity, using the power of football and sport in creating community cohesion and for the benefit of the whole Coventry community.

"Our deal at the Ricoh with Wasps remains in place. We will be playing our home matches there for the next four seasons and look forward to working with Wasps to ensure our mutual success on and off the field.

"Our ultimate goal is to return CCFC to the Premier League but we can only do this if we own our own stadium, allowing us to access 100 per cent of our revenues. In the near future, we will be able to give our fans more details of our plans and tell you where the new stadium will be."

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