The following statement has been issued by Coventry City's Owners SISU this afternoon:
As previously reported, Wasps insisted SISU sign a legal undertaking before they would participate in discussions with CCFC. SISU signed this undertaking in April to irrevocably cease all proceedings against Wasps relating to the sale and lease of the Ricoh Arena. Wasps then entered into commercial discussions with CCFC to allow the Club to continue to play for a limited time; however, not the five years we wanted.
Following agreement on commercials, Wasps demanded a further agreement to be signed both by the Football Club and SISU. This agreement introduced conditions that would unreasonably restrict the Club and SISU’s basic legal rights and would commit the Club and SISU to underwrite Wasps’ costs and any future damages. This would put the Football Club at great risk and jeopardise its future and in so doing, undermine the hard-work and success the Club has achieved over the past few seasons.
Importantly, we were willing to provide an indemnity to confirm we have acted in good faith to the extent Wasps were willing to provide the same; they would not agree to such a clause. Additionally, as negotiations continued, Wasps repeatedly moved further away from their previous stances, indicating they had no desire to agree a deal.
This is regrettable but under the circumstances an unavoidable position for CCFC; however, SISU remains committed to the long-term success of the Club. Playing in Birmingham is not a decision we would choose or want to make; sadly the decision was made for us.
We sympathise with and sincerely apologise to all Coventry City supporters for this and the heartache caused. We have had numerous discussions with Mark Robins to ensure the short-term ground share will provide him with a suitable location to build on last season’s success.
Unfortunately, the Council’s decision to sell the stadium to Wasps and prevent CCFC from participating in the sale process has empowered Wasps to take this position against CCFC.
Until Coventry City owns its own stadium, it will be at the mercy of a conflicted landlord, imposing onerous demands and conditions as a requirement for any deal.
SISU remains committed to providing CCFC with its own stadium in the Coventry area. We are grateful to the EFL for their support and patience in this matter and will continue to work closely with them throughout the planning and development process. We will provide CCFC with all the assistance required to enable the Club to return to the Coventry area, in a stadium it and its fans can again finally call home.