Coventry City supporters face the prospect of a season outside their home city as talks between them and the Ricoh Arena have seemingly stalled.
There is some good news; an EFL meeting to discuss the situation and possibly revoke their League One status has been cancelled, but that’s only been done as a groundshare with Birmingham City has been put in place.
Whilst the news breaking this morning doesn’t mean they’re definitely playing at St Andrew’s next season, it is a huge blow to supporters who felt that a deal with the Ricoh Arena was close to becoming a reality.
The stumbling block is a move by SISU to ask a European Commission to look into the sale of the ground to Wasps in 2014. A legal challenge of the same deal had been rejected by the Supreme Court, which had led to talks resuming between the two parties.
However, Wasps see the latest move as similar to the legal challenge and that has once again caused talks to stall. Coventry released a statement attempting to clarify the situation this morning. The statement read:
“Coventry City can confirm that the planned English Football League (EFL) EGM and vote regarding the club’s place in the EFL has now been cancelled
This is because the Club has met the EFL’s criteria regarding ensuring a venue for matches next season and the ability to fulfil fixtures, by now having a groundshare venue and agreement in place.
“This groundshare is in place to make sure the Club has somewhere to play in the scenario of a deal to play at the Ricoh Arena not being agreed.
We can confirm that talks with the aim to achieve a deal to play at the Ricoh Arena are continuing between Coventry City Football Club, its owners SISU and Wasps Holdings Limited.
“Our focus and desire is to agree a deal at the Ricoh Arena – this is everyone’s preferred option, and the right option for Coventry City. While the backup of a groundshare exists to ensure the future of the Football Club continues, another groundshare is not something anyone wants to happen.
“Details of the agreed groundshare and of our ongoing discussions with Wasps Holdings Limited remain confidential, due to mutually signed confidentiality agreements.
“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.
In the middle of it all are the long-suffering Sky Blues supporters, who have been reacting on social media this morning.
Everyone is a loser if we have groundshare not just CCFC and the fans local businesses will suffer and wasps will suffer as well , in everyone's interest that we stay at Ricoh
— Craig hurley (@Craighurley5) May 26, 2019
Good that the vote is cancelled, at least we’ll be playing in league 1 next season, but we still need a Ricoh deal
— Jake Witherow (@JakeWitherow) May 26, 2019
Good to hear that the vote has been cancelled. But for the love of God, can everyone just grow up and sort a deal at the Ricoh so we can come and watch some sports. Let's put things into context here guys
— ryan (@SBCV5) May 26, 2019
A sad & sorry state of affairs. Those playing roulette with the club that people care so much about need to hang their heads in shame. Kids, the future of the club will be completely disenfranchised by this whilst it’s yet another mess for the long suffering older fans to endure
— Coventry City Fc LGBT+ Fans (@LgbtCcfc) May 26, 2019
Lets hope the powers that be grow up and act like adults and get this mess sorted, it’s tiring reading and listening constantly about the “deal” ffs get it sorted, CCFC NEED TO PLAY IN COVENTRY.. the clue is in the name ?
— RICHARD MOON (@RICHMOONCCFC) May 26, 2019
The fact the votes no longer a thing, means we have met a contractual agreement for a ground share as back up, need their areas in gear now
— ????? (@20goalsBakayoko) May 26, 2019
Just bored with it all now – going to really need to make it up to fans with one heck of a season ticket offer (and I don't mean at groundshare).
— Howard Procter (@HowardProcter) May 26, 2019
After spending a few hours at the Bescot yesterday, we realised just how lucky we are to have the facilities that are at the Ricoh. We need to put everything to one side and ensure we stay at Ricoh and keep the momentum, under Robins, going.
— Paul Davies (@PaulDavies0201) May 26, 2019
Okay, so not exactly what we want to hear but positive in terms of talks continuing. Where there's a will there's a way, as the hedgehog said to the… but, anyway, as long as both sides keep talking it can get sorted. It benefits BOTH sides to stay at the Ricoh. Get it done. ?
— CelebCelery (@CelebCelery) May 26, 2019
So you say that your still in talks with wasps over a deal to play at the Ricoh but on sky sports news it's telling us that we are now gonna play at St Andrew's? what the hell is going on city #pusb
— Jack Mulcahy (@JackkMulcahyy) May 26, 2019