Coventry City have written an open letter to fans regarding their need to secure a new deal to play at the Ricoh - saying the club's future is under threat unless an agreement's reached.
The Sky Blues have sent us a copy of the letter - which you can read below.
Open Letter to Supporters
Coventry City Football Club welcomed the Coventry Telegraph’s questions to all parties involved in the current impasse over an agreement for the Sky Blues future to play matches at the Ricoh Arena. The club believes that it is vital to engage all parties – regardless of whether they are public or private organisations – in order to come to a positive resolution. If the current position is not resolved and the football club has no stadium to fulfil its fixtures then the outcome will be inevitable and the impact on the local community of the loss of the football club will be devastating.
Whilst we welcome both Coventry City Council and Wasps confirming publicly that the issue of not agreeing a deal is due to legal actions taken by the club ownership and not an issue with the club per se, we feel it is critical to point to the fact that the consequence of not reaching a resolution will be permanent and irreversible: The loss of our football club.
In considering whether there will be a future for Coventry City then the club feels duty bound to point to a passage from Coventry City Council’s minutes (attached) of Tuesday 7th October 2014 which states:
“The commitment that any deal relating to the Ricoh Arena would not be approved unless the following three tests were satisfied:
1. A good deal for the City
2. The security and future of Coventry City Football Club
3. The security and future of Coventry Rugby Club”
It was appropriate and correct for the leader of Coventry City Council to put forward these requirements at the time of selling the Ricoh Arena to Wasps. The Council’s covenant of commitment to Coventry City Football Club was designed to reassure fans. Indeed, the leader also subsequently stated on the same day:
“Let me be clear, any deal around the future of the Ricoh Arena must not happen if it threatens the future of the Sky Blues or Coventry Rugby Club.”
The Council’s covenant was reiterated on the 8th October: “This deal would not have happened if it threatened the future of the Sky Blues or Coventry Rugby Club.” Once again, reassuring Sky Blues fans.
However, the future of Coventry City Football Club is now under threat.
At the time of announcing the deal with Wasps, the Council failed to minute or present to Coventry City fans, Coventrians and the media that the Council’s covenant to secure the future of the City’s then 131 year old football club would have an expiry date and time limit of just four years…
The council point to a ‘No deal’ outcome being a “direct consequence” of legal action by the football club owners.
What is being painted is a false choice – it does not have to be a case of the Owners dropping the legal action or there is no deal, and it is not a case of “cannot enter discussions”.
In previous years a deal has been achieved by the football club whilst the Owners pursued legal action and that CAN be the case again.
Regardless of the current situation between football club owners, stadium landlord and council, the Club would like to extend an offer to meet with the landlord and the Council with the intention to resolve the issue of the football club having nowhere to fulfil its fixtures from the beginning of next season.
The Club will engage in a constructive and positive manner – with the single aim of saving our football club. The Club entirely agrees with our landlord Wasps wanting to move the situation forward for the good of Coventry City, its supporters, the Ricoh Arena and the City as a whole. The club looks forward to continuing to work together, based on the excellent day-to-day operational relationship we already enjoy.
Equally, we extend an invitation to Coventry City Council to sit and hold constructive discussions to understand how the Council might help resolve the situation for the good of everyone involved. It would be an unmitigated disaster if the club was to fold and disappear in the very year that Coventry holds the title of being the City of Sport. We will work together with the Council to ensure that this does not happen.
The Club is ready to sit at the negotiating table – we want to do a deal. A deal that preserves the football club. It is now time for all parties to work together for the good of Coventry City Football Club, its supporters and our community.