A DEAL has been agreed for the Sky Blues to make a long awaited return to the city after more than a year of playing matches 35 miles away in Northampton.
In a statement released this morning the League One club confirmed that a deal with stadium owners Arena Coventry Limited has been agreed for the Sky Blues to return to the Ricoh Arena.
A two-year deal has been signed with an option for a further two years and Steven Pressley’s side are expected to make a return in time for the Gillingham fixture on September 6.
“We are delighted to get this deal done and I am sure every supporter of Coventry City will be thrilled with this news,” said Sky Blues development director,” Steve Waggott.
“We are under no illusion what a difficult 12 months it has been for the supporters and that was uppermost in our thinking as we worked to get this deal done.
“There has had to be compromise on both sides and the commercial details of the deal will remain confidential.”
Secret talks had been taking place between Sky Blues owners Sisu, the council and ACL over the past few weeks.
It was thought that a return would be unlikely with the club continuing with their appeal against the judicial review hearing, which was overwhelmingly won by the council.
But ACL have agreed to welcome the Sky Blues back and chairman, Chris Robinson, said it was great news for the fans.
In a statement he said: “ACL are pleased to announce the return of the Sky Blues to the Ricoh Arena.
“Discussions that have taken place over the last month with Steve Waggott, Development Director from CCFC have been conducted with great spirit and a real sense of commitment, to secure the return of the club to the City.”
The deputy leader of the council, Phil Townshend, said negotiations between the council, ACL and the club went through the night in order to get a deal done.
He told the Observer: “They were an extremely complex set of contractual negotiations and required a lot of dedication.
“There was over 48 hours of negotiations without a break – up all night and day to get a deal done.
“It is important the terms are satisfactory and realistic for all the parties.
He added: “We cannot continue to bear grudges and ill will towards each other.
“Hopefully as time goes on relationships will be rebuilt and we can progress to strengthen the partnership.
“We need to ensure a minimum of 10,000 fans go to the first game so the club and the team know the fans are behind them.”
Fans have campaigned tirelessly for over a year for the Sky Blues to make a return.
A series of protests were made with almost 7,000 fans taking to the streets of Coventry last month for a march to express their anger at playing games in Sixfields.
CCFC Protest march… Picture by Jon Mullis 29.014.006.cov.jm7 (www.buyphotos247.com)