Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:20 pm
The EFL Board has formally written to Coventry City with a final request for clarity in regard to where the Club will stage its home matches for the 2019/20 season
In previous correspondence, the Board has been very clear about the need for Coventry City to provide absolute confirmation early in the second half of the current season. The Club will still be given every opportunity to develop and present an appropriate resolution throughout the process, but the EFL is yet to receive any indication of where Coventry City intend to play next season.
The Club has until 5 March 2019 to provide a further update to the Board, addressing the outstanding matter and should a satisfactory solution not be found over the next two months, an Extraordinary General Meeting of Clubs will be convened to consider Coventry City’s expulsion from the League. This would be held on the 25 April in order to provide clarity regarding the Club’s future membership in advance of relegation and promotion issues being resolved during the run-in to the end of the season.
The EFL considers it untenable for a Member Club to seek to continue competing in its League competition if it is unable to stage its home matches. However, it understands, that despite the complex challenges facing Coventry City at this current time, it is the Club’s preference to extend their stay at the Ricoh Arena for future seasons and the EFL would view this as a sensible and suitable solution to the matter.
EFL Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, said: “The matter of Coventry City’s efforts to secure a home venue for 2019/20 season and beyond has been a serious concern for all parties for a significant period of time and the objective of the EFL, as it has always been, is to secure an appropriate solution for the long-term future of the Club as they are a much valued member of our competition.
“The course of action taken this week is with reluctance, but the League has to ensure the integrity of our competitions is maintained and all Clubs meet the obligations that come with being a member of the EFL.
“We remain in regular dialogue with the Club and will provide all practical available assistance in line with EFL Regulations.”
Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:23 pm
Statement from Coventry City Football Club...
Coventry City Football Club has received a formal letter from the EFL Board with a final request for clarity regarding where the Club will play home matches in the 2019/20 season.
Following receipt of the letter, we felt it was important to make Sky Blues fans and the wider community aware of this letter and the dates outlined in it.
Coventry City has until Tuesday 5th March 2019 to provide a further update to the EFL Board. Should a satisfactory solution not be found over the next two months, an Extraordinary General Meeting of EFL Clubs will be convened to consider Coventry City’s expulsion from the English Football League.
This meeting would be held on Thursday 25th April – this is to provide clarity regarding Coventry City’s future membership in advance of relegation and promotion issues being resolved during the run-in to the end of the season.
These dates show how stark the situation facing the Football Club now is and that time is running out.
Our only option is to continue to play at our home, the Ricoh Arena.
Coventry City Football Club wants to do a deal with Wasps Rugby Club as soon as possible, to resolve this impasse so that the dates above are not encountered.
All parties now need to work together for good of Coventry City Football Club, its supporters, the Ricoh Arena, the City of Coventry and our community – the continued future of the Football Club needs to be everyone’s focus to prevent more heartache and worry.
No one should be in any doubt of the significance of Coventry City to Coventry – not in the past, now or in the future.
The Westminster meeting in early March called by the Minister of State for Culture, Media and Sport, inviting all of the key parties is an opportunity to resolve this issue. However, our offers to meet with both Coventry City Council, as freehold owner and the democratically elected local authority, and Wasps RFC, as landlord, still remain open - in the hope that a deal can be agreed before the Westminster meeting is necessary.
Sun Feb 24, 2019 4:05 pm
Coventry City fans stage two protests during their trip to Luton Town
Coventry City fans were applauded by the home fans as a sixth minute protest was held at their away game with Luton Town.
Before the match, several Coventry City fans - and even the stewards at Kenilworth Road - put out posters on every seat in the away end.
They read "6 and out".
Fans were told to hold up the posters when the clock hit minute six of the game.
The club only has six home games left until they face homelessness.
The English Football League has told the club it has until March 5 to provide clarity - or it could be expelled from the League altogether by April 25.
The club itself has said staying at the Ricoh Arena is its "only option" and it is still open to having talks with Wasps and Coventry City Council.
Fans took it upon themselves to voice their opinions against the off-pitch situation with two protests.
The first was the sixth minute poster hold-up, but fans then stayed past the full-time whistle for a sit-in.
Fans also staged a sit-in at the end of the game which was arranged with Luton's police teams.
They staged the second protest to sit-in for around 15 minutes after the full-time whistle had gone.
“Let down by the Football League,” is the chant that rung around Kenilworth by City’s fans and that’s applauded by the Luton fans as they leave the ground.
They made themselves heard singing “We want our City back”.
Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:48 pm
Council blocks release of documents over pledge to protect Coventry City's future after our FoI request - as private report revealed
COVENTRY council has refused to publicly release documents following an Observer Freedom of Information request concerning councillors’ previous public pledge to protect Coventry City Football Club’s future when selling the Ricoh Arena to Wasps.
We publish today the council’s full response in two documents to the FoI request we lodged in January.
It includes a previously private and confidential council agenda report from October 2014 when Coventry City’s home was controversially sold to London Wasps Holdings Limited.
The private agenda document from the October 7, 2014 meeting – when councillors unanimously agreed to sell the council’s 50 per cent shares in the Ricoh Arena company Arena Coventry Limited – reveals how council officers presented all councillors with the case for doing so – steered by leading Labour councillors including then leader Ann Lucas amid a dispute with CCFC’s hedge fund owners Sisu.
But the council has refused to disclose other documents we requested, which might otherwise shine a light on the terms of the deal, particularly leading councillors’ repeated public commitment that the Ricoh was only being sold to rugby club London Wasps on the strict condition that the “security and future” of Coventry City and Coventry rugby club was being protected.
We had called on Couns Duggins and Ridley to justify with evidence their apparently retrospective claim that the commitment to Coventry City’s future was restricted to just four years from 2014 – the maximum potential terms of the club’s then tenancy arrangements.
Council leaders have maintained it is a matter for Ricoh Arena owners Wasps and tenant Coventry City to sort out – yet the council is the stadium’s freehold owner, with ‘soft’ powers and influence across the city.
We asked for a copy of the share sale agreement which might reveal whether the protections for Coventry City publicly stated by councillors were indeed written into the deal.
The council has blocked disclosure on grounds of third party confidentiality, given that Arena Coventry Limited was a private company of which the council and the Alan Edward Higgs Charity had been joint shareholders. ACL’s directors included council executives Martin Reeves and Chris West.
Other documents we requested have not been released – which could include other private documents, down to notes between councillors and officers and transcripts of private discussions.
Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:10 pm
Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:07 pm
Coventry City tells EFL it’s close to two groundshare deal options - but not Ricoh Arena
COVENTRY City has today told the football authorities it is close to agreeing terms with two other clubs for a groundshare – and that the Ricoh Arena is not among them.
A statement on the CCFC website this afternoon does not rule out a Ricoh deal but says it is in the gift of owners Wasps to talk. It reads:
Coventry City today provided an update to the EFL Board, as was requested.
The Football Club confirmed to the EFL that it is close to the Head of Terms stage with two groundshare options. Coventry City will now progress to working on finalising terms with the Clubs and Stadiums involved.
While it remains our number one priority to stay, we can confirm that unfortunately the Ricoh Arena is not one of the venues above. At this stage, Wasps continue to choose not to enter into talks with the Football Club while our Owners SISU continue legal action with Coventry City Council.
Regrettably, we therefore have had to make alternative plans to the Ricoh Arena, the stadium that was built for us, to ensure our place in the EFL next season. The groundshare proposals would do that.
This is not an easy situation, and we apologise to supporters that it has reached this stage and for the heartache which has been caused.
Coventry City Football Club and its management team cannot affect the stances of Coventry City Council, Wasps or of our Owners in this situation – what we can do is put in plans to ensure this great Football Club continues to survive despite the impasse that exists, and that is what we will do.
Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:44 am
An extraordinary general meeting to discuss Coventry City's future has been postponed, with the club in "initial discussions" with Wasps over extending their stay at the Ricoh Arena
The English Football League meeting has been put back until 29 May because City have made "significant progress".
Coventry have also signed an agreement to groundshare at an "alternative venue", but have not confirmed where.
"We want to conclude this matter as soon as possible," the club said.
"We have worked closely with [chief executive] Shaun Harvey and the EFL over a long period of time on this matter, and are grateful to the EFL board for giving us the extra time needed to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion, which would see Coventry City continue to play its fixtures in Coventry.
"We can confirm that Coventry City Football Club has started initial discussions with Wasps Holdings Limited regarding an extension to our current license agreement to play at the Ricoh Arena."
Coventry said they will now "work extremely hard in the next few days" with the "continued aim of Coventry City playing at the Ricoh Arena".
Last week, the club's owners lost their Supreme Court appeal over the sale of the stadium to Premiership rugby side Wasps by the city council.
They had asked to appeal against the decision not to allow a judicial review into the sale of the ground in 2014.
Wasps have always said they would be ready to discuss a new deal once the legal action ended.
The EFL, which was to consider Coventry's potential expulsion from the league at the planned meeting, said a "solution" was "believed to have been identified".
"To allow the club the maximum period of time to finalise appropriate arrangements, the EFL board has opted to postpone Thursday's EGM and remains hopeful such a meeting will not be required," the EFL said in a statement.
Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:28 pm
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:59 pm
Sun May 26, 2019 3:44 pm
EFL vote cancelled as League One club has 'groundshare venue in place'
Coventry City say they have a "groundshare venue and agreement in place" for next season if they are unable to stay at the Ricoh Arena.
A planned vote of English Football League clubs regarding Coventry's place in the league has now been cancelled.
Coventry, owners Sisu and rugby union club Wasps - who own the Ricoh - are in talks over City staying at the ground, which is Coventry's preferred option.
But their ongoing legal case is causing problems with those negotiations.
A groundshare agreement with Birmingham City has been widely reported but, when contacted by the BBC, Coventry would not confirm that the deal could see them playing at St Andrew's next season because of a confidentiality agreement.
Coventry said in a statement on Sunday: "We understand the frustration that fans are feeling, and have expressed to us, at not knowing where their club will be playing next season, not being able to plan for next season and supporting Mark Robins and the team, and the time that this is taking."
EFL clubs were due to vote on Coventry's future on 29 May and they could have been expelled from the league if they had been unable to agree a deal to stay at the Ricoh or found an alternative venue.