SEVERAL Coventry City fans’ groups have today joined forces to urge negotiations to resume with Wasps to play at the Ricoh Arena – without any council matters interfering.
Last week, it was announced that talks had broken down and that newly promoted Championship side Coventry City would play a second season at Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s stadium.
The club is also hoping to build a new stadium at the University of Warwick within five years.
The football club claims Wasps had sought protections for themselves and a third party, believed to be the stadium’s freehold owners Coventry City Council, from any future legal action, after City’s owners Sisu’s failed court actions against the council’s 2014 Ricoh Arena sale to Wasps.
Wasps deny seeking any indemnity clause while accepting they had previously sought protections, while the council denies direct involvement in the talks. We have contacted all parties for comment.
After a week of claim and counter-claim about why talks collapsed, the fans’ groups’ statement reads:
On behalf of all Coventry City fans we, as fan groups, demand representatives of both Wasps RFC and Coventry City FC to return to the negotiating table to agree a deal for the return of Coventry City to the Ricoh Arena for the 2020/21 season and beyond.
Recent local media reports have suggested that there were indeed requests from Wasps RFC, on behalf of Coventry City Council, to restrict the rights of Coventry City FC to take any future action against Coventry City Council with regards to the Ricoh Arena. We believe that this is a wholly unacceptable request that is tantamount to refusing to agree a deal. Further to this Coventry City Council have recently announced that they have not interfered in recent talks, which begs the question as to why this was requested?
Rather than dwell on what has gone, we request that all parties return to negotiations to bring Coventry City FC back to Coventry. All unreasonable requests for restriction of legal rights should be dropped.
We ask Coventry City Council to publicly confirm that they do not require any legal restrictions, or indemnification, to be written into any contract for Coventry City to play at the Ricoh Arena.
We ask Wasps RFC to not request any legal restrictions, or indemnification, from Coventry City or Sisu.
We ask that both Coventry City FC/Sisu and Wasps RFC put their differences aside and immediately return to negotiate commercial terms in good faith for a deal that is mutually beneficial, and considers any financial penalties that may be incurred by Coventry City as a result of the agreed contract to play at St. Andrews in the upcoming season.
We call on the English Football League to confirm they will enable Coventry City to return to Coventry to play at the Ricoh Arena, even if the season has commenced when a deal is agreed.
We ask that Andy Street returns to help mediate talks between Coventry City FC and Wasps RFC to enable the clubs return to the city of Coventry.
If a deal was as close as has been reported, then there is no reason why a deal cannot be concluded if the unreasonable terms implied by a third party to the deal are removed.
Sky Blue Trust
Sky Blues Talk Online Community
Northern Sky Blues Supporters Club
Coventry City Diamond Club
Coventry City Former Players Association
Coventry City LGBT+ Supporters Group
A spokesperson for Coventry City Council said: “Coventry City Council was not part of the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA); has not been involved in any of the negotiations about CCFC returning to the Ricoh Arena and did not ask for any conditions to be inserted into any possible deal.”