Wasps are thrilled to announce that the Ricoh Arena will play host to Rugby Sevens, Judo and Wrestling at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Ricoh Arena, the home of Wasps Rugby has become a hub for top-level Rugby Union since the Club moved to stadium in 2014, with Women’s and Under 20s Six Nations matches being held at the venue, alongside European Champions Cup semi-finals and all Wasps Gallagher Premiership home fixtures.
And now the stadium will witness more elite rugby in Coventry as the Rugby Sevens prepares to come to town in 2022.
Alongside this, Judo and Wrestling will also be showcased in the Ericsson Indoor Arena during the 2022 Commonwealth Games – adding to the array of sporting events already having been hosted by the versatile venue.
Stuart Cain, Chief Executive (Venue) at Wasps said: “We’ve built a great reputation for staging top-level Rugby Union, having hosted Six Nations games, European semi-final matches, as well as obviously all Wasps home games, so this is a great extension and gives us the chance to work with the Commonwealth Games to deliver another successful rugby tournament in the region.
“We’re also excited to host the Wrestling and Judo within the Ericsson Indoor Arena, adding to the diversity of sports and events we’ve already accommodated at the stadium – including scuba diving to monster truck driving to name a couple in recent months.”
During the Games, the Ricoh Arena will be referred to as the Coventry Stadium and the Coventry Indoor Arena.
Meanwhile, after a massive increase in Netball’s profile since Team England’s gold-medal winning heroics on the Gold Coast in 2018 and England’s hosting of the Netball World Cup in July, the sport moves from Ricoh Arena to the NEC, increasing capacity and allowing more netball fans the opportunity to enjoy the sport in the summer of 2022. This news comes after a routine review of venues, nearly two years on from Birmingham’s bid.
The changes mean that Villa Park no longer features as a host venue at the Games. Due to the anticipated early start of the football season in 2022, with the FIFA World Cup kicking off in November that year, Aston Villa has unfortunately been unable to commit to the dates required for the Commonwealth Games in July and August 2022. Detailed assessments of venues included in the bid also revealed a number of challenges in operating Villa Park at Games time.
The venue refresh follows on from the recent announcement that Birmingham’s iconic Edgbaston Stadium is now an official venue for Birmingham 2022, after Women’s Cricket was added to the Games sports programme. With Beach Volleyball added too, there are now even more sports taking place in and around the city.
Liz Nicholl CBE, President of the International Netball Federation welcomed news of the venue change for Netball: “While the Coventry Stadium is an excellent venue, this move to the NEC will increase the capacity significantly. This will be welcomed by the Netball family and the significant fanbase that our sport now attracts, as seen at the recent Netball World Cup in July 2019 when over 110,00 tickets were sold.”
Ian Reid, Chief Executive Officer of 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, explained the venue changes announced today: “As is common practice for all major multi-sport events, we have been considering how best to optimise the mix of venues available to us, making sure we’re being as efficient as possible in terms of usage and cost, and ensuring that we are developing a fantastic experience and showcase for the sport, the athletes, the spectators and the host city and region.
“Moving the Rugby Sevens to the home of Wasps means we can capitalise on their existing reputation for delivering top-level rugby.”
The latest venue update has now been approved by the Commonwealth Games Federation’s Executive Board, ahead of its General Assembly in Rwanda at the start of September, which will see a team from Birmingham 2022 presenting an update on preparations for the event to representatives from the 71 Commonwealth nations and territories from across the globe.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held in venues across Birmingham and the West Midlands from 27 July until 7 August 2022 and will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put the city on the map and to showcase the fantastic venues and facilities available in the region.
For more information about all of the sports and venues that will feature at Birmingham 2022, take a look at the new-look website at www.birmingham2022.com where you can also sign-up to receive the latest Games news and updates on jobs and volunteering.