Hayes seeking to sell Wasps
October 5, 2011
London Wasps owner Steve Hayes is hoping to offload the club © Getty Images
London Wasps owner Steve Hayes has revealed in an open letter to supporters that he has decided to sell the club.
In a statement which appeared on the club's official website, Hayes explained that the loss of support from Wycombe District Council for his planned 'Sporting Village', which would have included the construction of a new stadium for both Wasps and Football League side Wycome Wanderers, had played a key role in his decision to begin the search for new owners.
"This was a very tough decision for me personally but ultimately I believe it is the right one to ensure that London Wasps continues to drive forward both on and off the pitch," he wrote.
"I have spent much of the past few months considering the best course of action for the club following the decision by Wycombe District Council to stop supporting our plans to develop a Sporting Village, which would have included a new stadium. The vision of planning and developing this facility was one of the key reasons I got involved in the club and being unable to bring this to fruition remains bitterly disappointing. I remain of the belief that London Wasps at Adams Park is not a sustainable long-term option and I and my advisors believe that the Sporting Village plans remain feasible for Wasps as a standalone club. Therefore I will work with and encourage any new owner to bring these plans to realisation at an alternative location.
"I have been honoured to be at the helm of such a prestigious club and I believe that a number of our initiatives over the past few seasons, such as our St George's Day Game at Twickenham, have showcased the club to new audiences and more importantly new supporters. I would like to think that I will leave the club in a relatively healthy position as the team continues to transition in a positive manner and behind the scenes we have also been making real inroads into making the club a commercially viable business.
"This process will take time and nothing is going to happen overnight but rest assured that any potential new owner will need to convince me that they have the best interests of the club at heart and be in a position to invest at the right level. Any new owner will have to show me that their aspirations are to provide London Wasps with the right level of investment and structure to ensure that they are once again a team in the hunt for titles at the end of every season.
"My priority now is continuing to support the club and its staff while this process is underway.
"Thank you for all of your support."
After a golden era for the club between 2003 and 2008, during which they won four Premiership titles and lifted the Heineken Cup twice, Wasps have slipped from the summit of the English game in recent seasons.
Hopes of a revival fuelled by a bright bright start to the new Aviva Premiership season in which they racked up back-to-back wins over reigning champions Saracens and old rivals Leicester Tigers have been dashed by successive defeats to Sale, Exeter and Newcastle which have seen Wasps slip down to eighth in the table.
Hayes has proven a dynamic force at the club since taking charge in 2008, having been responsible for the introduction of an annual St George's Day Game at Twickenham as well as playing a key role in the staging of last season's Anglo-Welsh Cup clash with Harlequins in Abu Dhabi.
Former Wasps captain Lawrence Dallaglio, who is a member of the club's board, stated: "Steve's passion and vision over the past number of years has helped bring the club to new audiences around the world and any new owners will take on a club in a healthy position in terms of the direction it is heading on and off the pitch."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
"The fans could not be happier with the opposition and it adds an exciting element to a game that is shaping up as a thriller." Ben Kay previews the Premiership final showdown
"If there was a cross breed of canine called an Underdogdoodle it would win best in show at Crufts." Mark Durden-Smith looks at the Aviva Premiership Final
With the Lions' tour to Australia fast-approaching, ESPN's Austin Healey and Mark Durden-Smith sat down to share their memories of the 2001 trip Down Under
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel