20th Oct, 2019

Survey asks Coventry City fans for views on groundshare outside city to prevent expulsion - if no Ricoh deal

Editorial Correspondent 22nd Mar, 2019 Updated: 22nd Mar, 2019

A survey is asking for Coventry City fans’ views on whether they would accept a groundshare outside the city as an alternative to the club’s expulsion – if all parties in the Ricoh Arena dispute cannot bury their differences.

All clubs in the English Football League (EFL) will be asked to vote on expelling the Sky Blues from the league if no solution is found.

The survey, handled by one fans’ group The Sky Blue Trust following what it says was an EFL request, states…

A REQUEST FROM THE ENGLISH FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Dear Sky Blues Supporter

As you will by now be well aware, unless Coventry City are able to demonstrate to the English Football League (EFL) that the club has a home ground on which to play its matches for the 2019/20 season, an Extraordinary General Meeting of EFL clubs will take place on 25 April 2019, to consider a motion to expel the Sky Blues from the EFL.

The Sky Blue Trust met recently with the EFL to discuss the whole range of potential scenarios that may or may not occur over the next two months. At that meeting, the EFL indicated that it would welcome a formal view from the Sky Blue Trust about the club playing its matches outside of Coventry on a temporary basis should such an outcome need to be considered at some point – most likely as a last ditch alternative to expulsion.

The EFL stressed that the club remained focused on a solution that saw them playing in the Coventry area. However, the Sky Blue Trust is aware from Club statements and the latest published accounts, that other venues are being considered by CCFC Management as an alternative to the Ricoh.

Therefore, to help guide EFL clubs in any future consideration of the matter should it be necessary, the Sky Blue Trust has agreed to assist the EFL to understand the views of our members on the issue of ground-sharing. The EFL has committed to make the Trust’s views known to all League clubs should the matter need to be considered on April 25th.

Therefore please can you answer the following question:

*

If, by 25 April 2019, Coventry City do not have an arrangement to play matches in Coventry for the 2019/20 season, would you be in favour of Coventry City being permitted to play matches at a stadium outside the Coventry area under a ground-sharing arrangement as an alternative to expulsion from the EFL?

PLEASE TICK ONE ANSWER, from the list below. Note that supporters who select option (b) below should recognise that this is the equivalent of a ‘no’ vote should the club be unwilling/unable to provide a binding commitment.

(a) Yes – within a maximum of 50 miles from Coventry (b) Yes – within a maximum of 50 miles from Coventry but only if the club provides a binding commitment to the EFL to return to the Coventry area within 3 years. (c) No – I would not be in favour of Coventry City being permitted to play matches at a stadium outside the Coventry area under a ground-sharing arrangement as an alternative to expulsion from the EFL.

Supporters wishing to take part can do so at this link.

The Sky Blue Trust, has notified fans of the survey on its website. It adds…

There is still time for SISU, Wasps and Coventry City Council to work together constructively to solve this crisis. There are several possible solutions, for example:

SISU could drop their legal action and do a deal with Wasps.

Wasps could come to the negotiating table and enable the Sky Blues to play at the Ricoh next season.

Coventry City Council could offer help and support, to keep the Club alive.

SISU could sell the Club to new owners who might be more able to agree terms with Wasps.

In recent discussions, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and many local MPs have urged the three organisations to solve the problem and remove the threat to the Club’s existence. The EFL have been pressing the Club for a long period of time to make satisfactory arrangements for the Club’s home games and to make their intentions clear to the League and to supporters. But the politicians and the EFL can only urge, persuade and cajole.  They do not have the power to compel the parties to sort out the mess. At the time of writing, the Club have not informed the EFL where they will play home games in 2019/20 and have not proposed a ground-share to the EFL

If the issue is not resolved within the next 33 days, the EFL’s member clubs will, on 25 April 2019, be faced with a terrible dilemma – either once again allow Coventry City to move out of the City and play “home” games elsewhere or put an end to the Club’s life in the Football League. The EFL are anxious to know how supporters would view those options.

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