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Statement on Alan Higgs Centre

9 April 2013

Club statement regarding Academy residence at the Alan Higgs Centre

Coventry City Football Club (Holdings) Ltd have released a statement following recent talks regarding the football club's Academy residence at the Alan Higgs Centre.

Steve Waggott, CCFC Development Director, said: “Coventry City Football Club Holdings Limited (CCFC Holdings) are extremely disappointed by the Alan Higgs Centre Trust’s decision to not allow the Academy access to the Higgs Centre.

“This decision appears to have been taken despite letters, emails and phone calls between each party, legal representatives and the administrator over the last week to try to reach a new commercial agreement that would allow the Academy to continue to operate out of The Alan Higgs Centre as the season draws to a close.

“All that the Club and Academy want and need is a very simple, uncomplicated commercial agreement with the Alan Higgs Centre Trust for the next three months that is, and should be, completely divorced from any other on-going issues away from our youth development programme.

“If this can be achieved then it would enable the Academy to continue to flourish by delivering its excellent work of recruiting and training the future stars of Coventry City Football Club – and provide the centre with rental income.

“Everyone knows how important an Academy is to a club and to the town or city it represents. We have a great record in producing young, home-grown players, as our squad showed last Saturday.

“CCFC Holdings had offered to pay the full commercial market rate to hire the centre out for the Academy to use until the end of June whilst also agreeing to pay for the extra sessions the Academy and First Team required during the recent spells of bad weather when our grass pitches were unplayable.

“The Club were also happy to look at the quotes the Alan Higgs Centre Trust has received in relation to covering the cost of the repairs to the grounds maintenance equipment to ensure this essential equipment is fully operable.

“The reluctance of the Alan Higgs Centre Trustees to agree to a deal, despite on-going attempts by CCFC Holdings to resolve the situation, has unfortunately meant that the young academy players have had a reduced training programme over the Easter holidays and are now having to train and play their matches at alternative venues.

“We have, quite understandably, had to implement our contingency plans and make alternative arrangements through to the end of the season. We had hoped we would not have to activate these plans, but we need to give the players, parents and staff certainty our programme is continuing.

“Academy Manager Gregor Rioch has had meetings with players and their parents who fully understand the position we are in and are very supportive.”

Rioch said: “Whilst we realise this is unsettling for all concerned and most importantly for the parents and all our young players, we are determined to continue to operate and deliver a full youth programme over the remaining weeks of the season.

“We would have still preferred to have kept the Academy at the Alan Higgs Centre as we entered this crucial end of season period during which we look to recruit new young local talent whilst trying to retain those already on our books but who are of interest to other professional clubs.

“Surely that, regardless of personalities or politics, is in everyone’s interests.”

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