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Club News

PUSB: 'From The Board' versus Wigan Athletic

9 November 2022

Club News

PUSB: 'From The Board' versus Wigan Athletic

9 November 2022

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 our game against Wigan Ahtletic below:

Good evening and welcome to the Coventry Building Society Arena for tonight’s game against Wigan Athletic in the Sky Bet Championship. I would also like to welcome the players, staff, officials and supporters who join us here for the game tonight.

It is a relief that we are able to welcome people here to the Arena at all, following events outside of our control in recent weeks over the future of Wasps and Arena Coventry Limited (ACL).

There were times during the last few weeks where it appeared likely that ACL could have gone into liquidation instead of administration, and that would have been catastrophic for the company and its employees – and would have resulted in ACL being wound up and the doors being locked at the Arena.

Thankfully that situation was averted but that was a real risk in the build up to recent games, especially the midweek match against Blackburn Rovers which was a day after ACL’s notice of intention to go into administration would end. Ahead of that game, we were required by the EFL to put in place an alternative backup plan to ensure that the fixture would be fulfilled. This was a last resort and would have been very distressing for our supporters and the Club as a whole, but it was important to have this in place to avoid a further postponement and the real risk of a point deduction.

These plans were thankfully not needed in the end, but I would like to thank Walsall FC and their staff for their support in making these plans at short notice for that game.

Through the last few weeks, we have been in constant dialogue with Arena Coventry Limited and Coventry City Council about the situation. The Council have been clear with us about their determination that we continue to be able to play our games at the Arena and their support as much as possible for that to happen. I would like to thank them and their officials for that support, in particular Chief Executive Martin Reeves who has put in much work to achieve that aim.

Even on the day of the Rotherham United match, there were continued doubts about the ability for us to fulfil the game at the Arena due to the ACL situation. It has been widely reported that the Club were required to make additional payments for the game against Blackpool to go ahead, and that was also the case on the day of the Rotherham fixture. Some of these fees related to payments that had not been made to ACL initially, as a result of our damages claim at the start of the season due to the pitch not being safe for us to play, while others did not - but it was made clear that these payments had to be made by us to ACL so we could play at the Arena, and also ensured the Arena as a whole avoided going into liquidation and helped ensure ACL staff got paid.

Much of our time over the last few weeks has been spent speaking to different parties and making various plans for different circumstances here at the Arena and elsewhere – thankfully those plans have remained unused, and we have been able to fulfil fixtures as usual.

The situation has been outside of our control, and the Football Club’s lack of ownership over its stadium goes back nearly two decades since the move from Highfield Road. It remains incredibly frustrating that much of our time has to be spent dealing with issues about stadiums – whether it is the situation in recent weeks, or over the years issues like groundsharing, pitch problems or negotiating short-term fixes to what is a long-term issue – and I share the frustration which I know is most felt by our supporters.

The ownership of the Arena in the future remains, at the time of writing, unclear. What is clear however is that this Arena was built for this Football Club and that the future success and stability of this venue should go hand-in-hand with that of the Sky Blues.

Thanks for your support as always – PUSB. 

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