Please find a brief summary of the key meetings/actions undertaken by The Sky Blue Trust in 2018.
Jan 18 Reply received from Dave Boddy , CCFC CEO re 17/18 Countdown to Homelessness E Mail. No new infornation to advise.
Jan18 FOI ( Freedom of Information) response received from Coventry City Council re potential move to Butts Park Arena. Advised that no discussions/meetings with CCFC,CRFC or anyone acting on their behalf.
Jan 18 Coventry MP's contacted, Geoffrey Robinson, Colleen Fletcher and Jim Cunningham asking what steps being taken to avoid homelessness for CCFC. Response from Jim Cunningham, suggesting meeting with Chris Heaton Harris ( which we'd already done in late 2017). Response from Colleen Fletcher offering support.
Jan 18 Warwickshire MP's contacted. Caroline Spelman, Marcus Jones, Jeremy Wright, Mark Pawsey,Zahawi,Tracey and Matt Western. Also Chris Heaton Harris.
Jan 18 Damian Collins MP chair of Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee contacted and asked to intervene.
Jan 18 Discussions with senior EFL officials, to update them on situation and seek their views on next steps. Guarded response.
Jan18 E Mail to Martin Reeve,CEO, Cov CC, CCFC and Wasps RFC asking for info on mediation process. Martin Reeve responded to advise mediator confirmed and procesd to take place March 5 to 28th.
Jan 18 Mark Pawsey MP raised issue in House of Commons following our earlier intervention. Mark Pawsey, Caroline Spelman and Matt Western replied offering support. Jan 18 Moz Baker attended inaugural CCFC Supporters Forum meeting.
Jan 18 Met with Jim Cunningham, Marcus Jones and Chris Heaton-Harries
Feb 18 Discussion with Ashley Brown, Supporters Direct
Feb 18 Meeting with Gary Hoffman consortium.
Feb 18 Parliamentary Debate led by Marcus Jones attended by Moz Baker and David Johnson, also met Jeremy Wright (MP for Kenilworth & Southam, then Attorney General now Sec of State for DCMS)
Mar 18 Question issued to Shaun Harvey,CEO,EFL,ahead of EFL meeting. Asking for set of rules and controls to meet concerns of fans re poor leadership and ineffective financial controls.
Mar 18 Trust made representations to Inspector into Rugby Borough Council local plan suggesting strengthened wording of policy re Ryton, requiring training facilities - not just “pitches” - to be replaced prior to any redevelopment. Wording subsequently accepted.
April 18 Moz Baker attended CCFC Supporters Forum meeting.
April 18 Tracey Crouch ,then Sports Minister in contact with Trust,keen to find out how supporters groups were consulted by clubs.
April 18 Greg Clarke FA Chairman (via local MP's Cunningham and Jones) sharing concerns re stadium issues and outlined FA regulations in place.
May 18 Quiz held to raise funds for Jimmy Hill Legacy Fund.
May 18 Trust promotional stand at Earlsdon Festival.
May 18 Dave Boddy Open meeting staged at Ricoh.
May 18 Discussions with senior EFL officials, urging the need for a long-term solution to the ground issue - in Coventry.
July 18 Meeting with Gary Hoffman consortium.
July 18 Bruce Walker attended CCFC Supporters Forum meeting.
Oct 18 Dave Boddy reply to Countdown to Homelessness 18/19 letter referring to club statement issued earlier that month.
Oct 18 Nick Eastwood Wasps RFC reply to Countdown 18/19 letter unable to comment further due to confidentiality issues.
Oct 18 Regulating English Football meeting chaired by Tom Greatrex (SD) panel included Damian Collins MP attended and contributed to by David Johnson.
Oct 18 Meeting with Unite Community area and regional officials with a view to getting access to Union Officials of Unite and TUC at regional level.
Nov 18 Moz Baker informal meeting with Dave Boddy. Updated re stadium issues.
Nov 18 Further discussions with Senior EFL officials, enquiring about latest position and timescale
Dec 18 Wrote to Nick Eastwood Wasps CEO requesting urgent meeting.
Dec 18 Trust reps meeting with Dave Boddy/Mark Hornby further discussion re stadium issues.
Dec 18 Moz Baker attended CCFC Supporters Forum meeting.
Dec 18 Quiz held to raise funds for Jimmy Hill Legacy Fund.
We have also written on the 4th January to the following MP's, Jim Cunningham, Jeremy Wright, Marcus Jones, Dame Caroline Spelman, Matt Western, Mark Pawsey, Geoffrey Robinson, Nadim Zahawi, Chris Heaton Harris, Craig Tracey and Colleen Fletcher as part of our Countdown to Homelessness 18/19 campaign to ask for their support. We have already received a number of positive responses.Write comment (0 Comments)
Let’s get one thing absolutely clear. The Sky Blue Trust and the vast majority of its members believe that the Ricoh Arena is both the natural, and only feasible, home for the Club. The Trust therefore supports 100% the broader Sky Blue Community in its attempts to persuade Wasps to allow the Club to continue to rent the ground both in the short term and, in appropriate circumstances, into the future. The Trust also accepts that Wasps are perfectly entitled to baulk at negotiating a new rental agreement with the tenants who are seeking that agreement, given that those tenants are simultaneously attempting to prove that the Rugby Club should both not own the ground in the first place, and also owes those tenants vast amounts in compensation. However, the Trust believes that the damage to our Club, to its extraordinarily loyal and patient fans, and to the wider City of Coventry itself is such that Wasps should extend goodwill, not to Sisu or its appointees but to the real Sky Blue Community. Wasps should allow City to continue to play at the Ricoh.
Wasps can do this safe in the knowledge that the Trust, the vast majority of its members and a large number in the wider Sky Blue and Coventry Community despise and loathe those bringing the court cases against them and the City Council. Bodies such as the Sky Blue Trust, Jimmy Hill Way and other like-minded groups and individuals will continue to fight for our Club to be liberated from the grip of the pariahs who currently control them and to remonstrate against the protracted legal action.
Another factor which might help to persuade Wasps to enter into negotiations about the future of the Ricoh would be a clearer demonstration of the distinction between those bringing the court case and the Club itself.
Currently, those ‘on the ground’ at the Club argue that the football club itself has had no input into the current court case, has not been actively consulted about it and is not involved in any way. This is simply not credible. The court case is brought in the name of Otium Entertainment Group (OEG) – Coventry City in legal form - and Sky Blue Sports and Leisure (SBSL). The sole director of OEG is Tim Fisher. The joint director of SBSL, alongside a SISU appointee, is Tim Fisher. Tim Fisher is also Chairman of Coventry City FC. Thus, Tim Fisher is both Chairman of a Club arguing that it has no part in the legal proceedings and so should be allowed to continue playing at the Ricoh, and is leading the companies taking those legal proceedings. Either Tim Fisher is complicit or at least compliant in the actions of OEG/SBSL or the legal actions are against his wishes. If the former, he should resign immediately as Coventry City Chairman. If the latter he should resign as Director of OEG and SBSL. Either way, his position is untenable. Ideally, given his role in this crisis, he should leave all three positions. As things stand, Mr Fisher is clearly acquiescent to the court proceedings and therefore the club is actively associated with that action, not just in name.
Tim Fisher’s resignation(s) might just give much needed credibility to the notion that Coventry City, here on the ground in the City itself, want to play at the Ricoh and don’t want court cases. It might predispose Wasps a little more towards City’s plight. However, given the Coventry City Chairman’s history in respect of integrity, transparency and selflessness while at the Club, we are not holding our breath.Write comment (7 Comments)
Sky Blue Trust's Response to Coventry City's published statement from the Supporters Forum regarding the Ricoh Arena Situation
This morning, Coventry City published a statement from the Supporters Forum regarding the Ricoh Arena situation https://www.ccfc.co.uk/news/2018/december/news-supporters-forum-groups-pledge-ricoh-arena-deal-support/ Most groups and individuals represented at the Forum have agreed with the totality of points proposed by the football club.
The article concludes with the comment: “Also in attendance and offered the opportunity to support were The Sky Blue Trust, though their board subsequently decided they did not wish to commit to the entire statement.” The Trust is in agreement with many of the points made in the Club Statement. However, certain phrasing within the text is simply not credible and cannot be supported by the democratically appointed Board of the largest group of Coventry City supporters. In particular, there is a complete contradiction in calling “on ALL parties to put aside their differences to sit down and negotiate a deal for Coventry City to play at the Ricoh Arena as soon as possible” then adding in the same sentence “despite the on-going court case”.
Moz Baker, Chair of the Trust, tried to make the point at the meeting that many city fans including Trust members would expect the owners of the club to be challenged and to be lobbied to drop their legal challenge, but was prevented from pursuing this. He did agree to take the statement for discussion by Trust board members.
Therefore, in support of Coventry City FC (but not the owners and directors of Otium Entertainment, Sky Blue Sports and Leisure, Sisu Capital and Arvo Master Fund) CCFC supporters and the whole Sky Blues Community, the Sky Blue Trust wishes to make the following statement:
- The Sky Blue Trust agrees that Coventry City should play its home matches in Coventry.
- They agree that Coventry City should play its home matches in the 2019/20 season and beyond at the Ricoh Arena.
- They call on ALL parties to put aside their differences to sit down and negotiate a long-term deal for Coventry City to play at the Ricoh Arena as soon as possible. Putting aside differences must include an announcement by Otium Entertainment Limited, Sky Blues Sports & Leisure Limited, Arvo Master Fund and Sisu Capital Limited that they are prepared to suspend legal action in an effort to achieve the best possible deal for Coventry City Football Club.
- The Sky Blue Trust notes that two previous attempts at mediation in the dispute concerning the Ricoh Arena have been unsuccessful. The first attempt was initiated by the Minister of Sport and a further round was ordered by justices of the Court of Appeal. The Trust calls on ALL parties to indicate publicly whether they would be prepared to enter into genuine and meaningful mediation, without pre-condition other than the suspension of court action, to settle their wider differences.
- They agree that the consequences of ‘no deal’ for Coventry City Football Club to play at the Ricoh Arena would be catastrophic for Coventry City Football Club, its supporters present and future, the community, the City of Coventry, wider footballing community and everyone who cares about the Club.
- They call on ALL supporters and community stakeholders to back attempts for this deal to be concluded as soon as possible in an amicable fashion and without threats to the interests of other parties.
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