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PUSB: 'From The Boardroom' versus Walsall

Topics include the Academy and the Ricoh Arena...

18 February 2019

After each matchday programme, we publish the 'From the Boardroom' article on our website. For Saturday's game against Walsall, Coventry City Chief Executive Dave Boddy wrote the column and his article is published below:

"Good afternoon and welcome to this afternoon’s game against Walsall.

I would also like to welcome all of the players, staff, officials and fans who have made the trip along the M6 from Walsall today.

Our games against Walsall were both very competitive games and I expect to see the same again today – but hopefully with a positive result for us.

Earlier this week the new indoor pitch at the Alan Higgs Centre was officially opened, with Academy graduates helping to cut the ribbon. Former Sky Blue James Maddison was joined by Tom Bayliss, Jordan Shipley and Jordan Willis to perform the task. A huge amount of credit has to go to Academy Manager Richard Stevens for helping to deliver this project, which has been led by Paul Breed and the staff at CV Life. The Club is very grateful for the hard work of Paul and his team.

Our Academy will have evening access to the indoor facility during the week, with the general public able to book the space for a range of sports at other times. The indoor facility is a huge part of the successful running of the Academy, and meeting the requirements of EPPP to maintain our cherished Category 2 status. We hope that the new building, along with the extension to the agreement to rent the Alan Higgs Centre, will see the Academy to go from strength-to-strength. It will be fantastic facility for players, parents and coaches, and everyone connected with the Club should be very proud of the work our Academy is doing.

Onto the Ricoh Arena situation, and unfortunately there have been no talks between the Football Club and either Wasps or Coventry City Council.

Coventry City Council however did meet with the Sky Blue Trust last week. While it is right that they hear one of the voices of the many Supporter Groups that the Club has, it is disappointing that they still refuse to meet with myself.

I have written to Council Leader George Duggins and Chief Executive Martin Reeves to request a meeting, yet have been refused the opportunity to speak to them. A major institution in the City is in jeopardy, yet the City Council leaders refuse to meet the Chief Executive of that institution.

I feel it is particularly important that the Football Club meets with Coventry City Council following comments made this week about the reassurances Wasps gave the Council when they moved to Coventry.

At the time, the Council Leader Ann Lucas said in a statement:  "This deal would not have happened if it threatened the future of the Sky Blues or Coventry Rugby Club.”

At the end of last year, current Council Leader George Duggins claimed that this guarantee, which was part of the minutes when the Council voted for the Wasps deal, was only intended to last four years.

Earlier this week Nick Eastwood, Wasps Chief Executive, said: “We effectively made a commitment to the Council when we purchased the Ricoh that Sky Blues would be at the Ricoh for as long as they wish."

These are contradictory statements from different parties relating to this guarantee of security for the Football Club at the Ricoh Arena, the stadium that would not be there today without the Football Club being the driving force for the regeneration in 1997, and it would be good to be able to speak to the Council so they can clarify this for the Football Club, the Supporters and the Citizens of Coventry who elected their representatives to take this decision in 2014.

My invitation to sit down and speak to them, any time and any place, remains open.

I have however had the pleasure to talk with some local MPs recently, namely Colleen Fletcher and Marcus Jones, and we have talked in depth about the issues facing the Club at the moment and the opinions of their constituents on the matter.

While it is beyond me, we also spoke about the legal action that the Owners are taking in the name of the Football Club. This is clearly another vital part of this situation, and that has been expressed by many parties I have spoken to. The legal process is ongoing, and we await an update if the right to appeal will be granted.

I hope that you enjoy today’s game."

Dave Boddy
Chief Executive
Coventry City Football Club

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