After each matchday programme this season, we publish the regular column from the Coventry City board on our website. You can read Coventry City Chief Executive Dave Boddy's column from Wednesday's game against Cardiff City below:
Good evening and welcome to St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium for tonight’s game against Cardiff City in the Sky Bet Championship.
I would also like to welcome the players, officials and staff who join us from the Bluebirds for the game today.
Supporters will have seen the announcement by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson regarding the potential return of fans to stadiums in December, which can only be welcomed for the good of the game and supporters.
The extent of a return or when this will happen will depend on where stadium locations sit in the Government’s regional tier system, details of which we await.
Once that tier has been decided, the actual return of fans to stadiums is then a decision for the Safety Advisory Group of each stadium – both in terms of whether it is possible and when it is possible, and how a return may look and operate. We will let fans know information when we are able to.
This news is a step closer to the return of fans, which would be great for everyone concerned and a welcome return to some normality. In terms of finances, we would only be welcoming back Championship Club Season Ticket holders in any initial return of fans so there would not be an increase in revenue to the Club.
This is why grant support from the Government is vital for EFL Clubs. Following news of the Government’s Winter Sport Survival Package, which did not provide any funds whatsoever for EFL Clubs, I have this week written to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden and Nigel Huddleston, the Minister for Sport, to make clear our view on the lack of Government support for EFL Clubs.
The Government is providing support for 11 sports, all of whom rely on gate receipts, including Premiership Rugby Union, Rugby League and Horse Racing, but yet again is washing its hands of the crisis that is engulfing the EFL – instead trying to pass the buck to the Premier League.
During Prime Minister’s Questions last week Boris Johnson said: “We don’t want any football team to go out of business as a result of this pandemic and we’re doing everything we can.”
When announcing the Winter Sports Survival Package, Oliver Dowden said: “Government will do everything we can to help our precious sports and clubs make it through covid.”
The evidence shows that the Government is not doing everything that it can and instead is putting its head in the sand and hoping for the Premier League to provide the support for the EFL Clubs instead. Coventry City believes this is wrong, and the Government should treat football as it is treating other sports and provide the support to ensure it survives during this crisis.
In the current climate, we are continuing to responsibly steer the Club through unprecedented times. As part of this, we have made the decision to reduce the size of the programme from 64 pages to 48 pages until fans are able to return to stadiums. The matchday programme is important to this Club and its fans, but sales have been severely affected by fans not being in stadiums.
It is important to us that we manage the programme through this crisis and continue to publish PUSB each matchday. While pages will be reduced in number, this will largely affect some of the ‘design-led’ pages and we will be maintaining much of the great content and features that have made the programme the success it has been in recent years, and ensuring it is still a programme you will enjoy both now and in the future.
Thanks for your support, enjoy the game.