Following the exile of our beloved Coventry City to Birmingham, The Sky Blue Trust has been forced to focus on one priority – bringing the club back home.
To that end, we have requested meetings with key stakeholders to hear, on the fans’ behalf, the answers directly from those involved.
Following our meeting with Wasps’ Nick Eastwood, we were grateful that the rugby club made public its stance on relations with CCFC, insisting it wanted football to return to the Ricoh.
Meanwhile, an equally frank conversation was held with Coventry City Council and, as a result, we are able to publish unedited questions and answers surrounding a potential return for CCFC and potential impediments.
The Sky Blue Trust will be meeting senior representatives from the English Football League in December.
We have renewed our requests for a meeting are Coventry City Football Club and its owners, Sisu so we can understand their position. We would hope they, like us and the EFL, they would be committed to bringing the Sky Blues back home.
Let nobody pretend that being in Birmingham is anything but incredibly damaging to the future of the Sky Blues.
That is why we are leaving no stone unturned in our attempt to bring people together with the goal of City returning to Coventry. In the meantime, it is important that fans understand any progress or otherwise.
So, these are the answers from Coventry City Council to specific questions.
Could you tell us if you have had meetings with representatives of Coventry City or their owners over future stadium plans in and around Coventry?
City Council officers have had meetings with land agents of the football club/SISU to provide pre-application advice in respect of one site that had been identified.
Have you spoken to them about specific sites?
The City Council has consistently advised the football club/SISU and their land agents about the need to undertake a comprehensive site selection exercise to look at alternative sites given some of the challenges with the site they had identified as being of potential interest. At a recent meeting, City Council officers, to try and assist, provided a couple of examples of sites that CCFC may wish to explore further as part of any site selection exercise.
How many sites have been part of those conversations?
What are the locations of those sites?
The discussions have been very preliminary about possible options that a developer may want to explore and are not at a stage when any indication of where they are would be appropriate to share.
Have you selected specific members of staff to handle their inquiries? If so, do they have a history of dealing with the owners or the club previously?
Senior City Council officers with expertise in planning and development have been liaising with the football clubs agents. These officers have had no involvement in the ongoing litigation.
What is the state of the litigation in the European court?
The City Council responded to the Government request for information in May 2019 and has received no further correspondence to date.
What would happen to that litigation in the event of Brexit?
This is unclear and would be speculation at this stage
Is it your belief that there is an opportunity for CCFC to return to the Ricoh?
Yes, it is our belief that CCFC could and should return to the Ricoh and whilst we can advocate for that solution we have no ability in influencing any action of CCFC and their owners.
If so, what is the basis of that belief?
There is a stadium that can accommodate them and they should be playing in the city. The only barrier we can see is the willingness of the owners to accept and negotiate an agreement to do so.
Are you prepared to have further discussions with the key stakeholders to enable CCFC to return to Coventry?
Are you taking any proactive steps to attempt to bring CCFC back to Coventry?
We are open to any suggestion as to how we can help and facilitate a return. CCFC owners have had an explicit aim for some time now to build and occupy their own stadium in Coventry. As you can see from our previous answers, the City Council has been supportive and indeed proactive in this search whilst of course still preferring for CCFC to return to the Ricoh Arena.