Fate of Sheffield United's trip to Coventry City made clearer after Wasps enter official administration

Ongoing uncertainty about the future of the rugby club Wasps has led to fears that Sheffield United’s trip to Coventry City on Wednesday evening could be the latest Sky Blues game to be postponed this season.
A view outside the Coventry Building Society Arena in Coventry, where Sheffield United are due to travel this week to face Coventry City: Jacob King/PA Wire.A view outside the Coventry Building Society Arena in Coventry, where Sheffield United are due to travel this week to face Coventry City: Jacob King/PA Wire.
A view outside the Coventry Building Society Arena in Coventry, where Sheffield United are due to travel this week to face Coventry City: Jacob King/PA Wire.

Wasps own the Coventry Building Society Arena that Coventry call home, with the rugby club’s holding company ceasing trading with immediate effect earlier today.

Confirmation of the widely-expected move for Wasps Holdings Limited came in a statement from the administrators, who confirmed that 167 employees have been made redundant – including all members of the playing squads and coaching staff.

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Coventry released a statement over the weekend insisting they had received assurances that the game against the Blades will still go ahead as planned, and it is understood that the businesses who look after the stadium are not affected by Wasps’ administration and continue to trade as normal – meaning City games at the stadium should continue as before.

As The Star reported earlier, Wasps were hit by by a winding-up order from HM Revenue and Customs for £2million in unpaid tax, and also faced having to repay a £35m bond which had helped finance the club's relocation to Coventry.

The administrators added that a small number of employees have been retained to support with the "orderly wind down of the company" and the operation of the CBS Arena, which is unaffected by administration and continues to trade as normal.

Joint administrator Andrew Sheridan said: "This is a dark day for English rugby, and we know this will be devastating news for every Wasps player and member of staff, past players, sponsors, and their thousands of supporters throughout the world, and anyone who has ever been involved with this great club.

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"Our immediate focus is on supporting those who have lost their jobs this morning.

"This will be an incredibly challenging time for every individual, and we will be assisting them in making claims to the redundancy payments service.

"The board and many others across the club have worked tirelessly over the last few weeks to try and find a solution that would allow the club to move forward, and it is with great regret that there has been insufficient time to allow this to happen.

"However, we remain in ongoing discussions with interested parties and are confident that a deal will be secured that will allow Wasps to continue.

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"We would like to thank the RFU (Rugby Football Union) and PRL (Premiership Rugby) for their support to date, and we continue to engage closely with them as negotiations with interested parties continue.

"Of course, time remains of the essence and we will be doing everything in our power to progress discussions with interested parties as quickly as possible, while fulfilling our statutory duties as administrators.

"This will include discussions with Wasps FC, the amateur club aligned to the Wasps Women team, to explore options that may allow the Wasps Women team to continue playing.

"Despite the challenging and complex environment, we have been heartened by the supportive approach taken by all stakeholders to date and are confident that this will continue now that the business is in administration, with all focused on securing an outcome that is in the best interests of rugby and the wider community."

It is understood that employees received the news during meetings on Monday at Wasps' training ground and the CBS Arena.

Wasps' playing squad includes the likes of England internationals Joe Launchbury, Jack Willis, who was named in England's Autumn Nations Series squad on Monday, Dan Robson and Brad Shields.

Wasps have been ever present in the Premiership since the competition began 25 years ago, winning it in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008.

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