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PUSB: 'From The Boardroom' versus Burton Albion

10 March 2019

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

"Good evening and welcome to the Ricoh Arena for today’s game against Burton Albion.

I would like to welcome their supporters, players, staff and officials who have made the trip from Burton today and in particular their long serving and outstanding Chairman Ben Robinson, who I sat on the Football Conference (National League) Board with for 5 years.

Earlier this week we updated the EFL regarding the stadium situation for next season. While we would have liked to have given them a more positive update, unfortunately we could only describe the situation as it stands.

We confirmed that our aim is to agree a deal at our home, the Ricoh Arena. This is best for the Coventry City Football Club, its fans, the community and all parties.

Of course we are aware that Wasps have chosen not to negotiate with us while our Owners SISU pursue their legal case against Coventry City Council, in which Wasps are named as an interested party.

As the Club’s management, we have a responsibility to the Football Club and its future and to its supporters, to explore other groundshare options that may be necessary to ensure the Club’s survival if both sides maintain their stance and therefore no agreement can be reached for us to remain at the Ricoh Arena.

This means our deadline is the 25th April, when if necessary there will be a vote of EFL Members Clubs on our future in the EFL. We will continue to do all that is in the Football Club’s power to achieve what we believe everyone wants to see next season – agreement for Coventry City to play at the Ricoh Arena – before that deadline, so that a vote on our place in the EFL is not necessary.

Last week I met with Derek Richardson, the owner of Wasps. It was a pleasant meeting and we spoke about a number of topics, relating to the pitch, Academy systems and the differences and similarities between our two sports. While we got on well, he did reiterate Wasps position that our Owners need to stop their legal action before they enter negotiations on a new deal at the stadium.

This week, we publicly asked questions of Coventry City Council over their 2014 unconditional minuted promise they made over the “security and future” of the Football Club when they sold the stadium to Wasps. We have provided the evidence and the questions.

The then leader of the City Council Ann Lucas said "This deal would not have happened if it threatened the future of the Sky Blues or Coventry Rugby Club” And she was correct to make that promise.

Nick Eastwood (Wasps CEO) said in February this year “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."

Unfortunately Council Leader George Duggins has failed yet again to provide evidence for his claim that this promise was limited to just four years.

The Council have played a huge part in this situation, going back to 1999. They are accountable to the taxpayers and those who elected them, who will expect the highest of standards from their elected officials.

Wasps have met with me in person and I am grateful to them for that. Coventry City Council last week rejected further requests for a meeting to discuss the future of the Football Club – that offer remains open.

We will continue to push for answers from them, as we hope and expect the local media to do too. It is right that all parties, including our Owners, are questioned over the role that they have played in us reaching this point.

Next week will see a meeting called by the Minister of State for Sport held at Westminster. All parties are scheduled to be in attendance – the Football Club, Wasps, Coventry City Council, Sisu and the EFL. I have maintained all along that the first step to a resolution being found is people meeting and talking, and I hope that next week’s meeting sees progress.

This week, Coventry City Football Club, Wasps and Coventry City Council all publicly stated that they want the Sky Blues to play at the Ricoh Arena next season. That aim needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds."

Dave Boddy
Chief Executive
Coventry City Football Club

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