Coventry City’s chief executive has insisted the club is continuing to make “strong representations” to owners Sisu about the ongoing legal action threatening the side’s future.
Dave Boddy continued to distance the club from the ongoing legal action preventing a deal being agreed for them to stay on at the Ricoh Arena in a column ahead of Saturday’s game against Luton Town.
He also revealed he had come under fire for failing to pin the blame for Coventry City’s potential homelessness at the end of the season on owners Sisu.
“There was some criticism that the letter did not point to the actions of the Owners that have contributed to this impasse,” he wrote in the column.
But he insisted the club had been making “strong representations” to Sisu.
“The Football Club has regular communication with the Owners and we make strong representations on the current situation to them,” he added.
“Everyone is aware of the consequences of a no deal scenario.
“The Football Club took no part in deciding whether the Club owners should pursue an appeal in the Supreme Court. It is the Club Owners who are taking this legal action and pursuing an appeal.”
The full comments from Dave Boddy
Writing in the programme ahead of the match against Luton, Coventry City Chief Executive Dave Boddy said: “Over the last few weeks, our future at the Ricoh Arena and the future of the club itself has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
“While our owners Sisu choose to continue their court actions and Wasps choose not to negotiate a deal, the Football Club and its supporters are left to watch all this play-out from the side lines.
“Our open letter last week caused some debate amongst supporters. I felt it was important to lay out the outcome and consequences if this impasse continues and a deal is not agreed.
“It is important that we continue to highlight the commitment made in 2014 by Coventry City Council to “the security and future of Coventry City Football Club” when they sold the Ricoh Arena to Wasps, which the Council now claims had an expiry date of four years only.
“This was not stated at the time, was certainly not minuted and was not reported in the media. It does seem a little odd that such a critical and fundamental feature of the Council’s commitment to the football club should go undocumented.
“It was also important that the open letter highlighted to supporters that there is no legal or practical reason that Wasps cannot sit down with the Football Club to agree a deal to play at the Ricoh Arena while legal challenges from the Owners continue – this situation has existed in prior years when previous deals have been agreed and completed whilst the court action was ongoing.
“We are more than willing to sit down with Wasps and negotiate a deal.
Will Coventry City be homeless again?
“There was some criticism that the letter did not point to the actions of the Owners that have contributed to this impasse. The Football Club has regular communication with the Owners and we make strong representations on the current situation to them. Everyone is aware of the consequences of a no deal scenario.
“The Football Club took no part in deciding whether the Club owners should pursue an appeal in the Supreme Court. It is the Club Owners who are taking this legal action and pursuing an appeal. This was publicly confirmed by Coventry City Council and Wasps last week.
“All of this, however, is not contributing to resolving this dispute. Media statements do not resolve disputes. Unmoveable ‘red lines’ do not resolve disputes. The only way this dispute can be resolved for the good of Coventry City Football Club, its supporters, the City of Coventry and our community is if the landlord and tenant sit down together and talk constructively.
“We made that offer publicly in our Open Letter, and have since written to Wasps and Coventry City Council to put that offer in writing to them. We keenly await their response, and are willing to meet anywhere, anytime to resolve this impasse. We enjoy an excellent day-to-day working relationship with Wasps, and would like to improve our relationship with Coventry City Council – especially as we approach Coventry being ‘City of Sport’ in 2019.
“We met with the Supporters Forum on Wednesday night to update them on the situation, and answer the questions of them and those who they represent.
“While our focus is of course on resolving this situation, the day-to-day running of the Football Club continues.”
Ricoh Arena row
December 14: Sisu takeover Coventry City FC and appoint Ray Ranson as chairman
March 28: Ray Ranson resigns as chairman
March 6: CCFC, Alan Edward Higgs Charity and Coventry City Council in talks over Ricoh Arena ownership
April 1: CCFC stop paying rent to ACL. CCFC make ongoing ‘pay as you play’ payments to ACL to complete the season
April 28: CCFC relegated from Championship
May: Sisu and Alan Edward Higgs in negotiations over the puchase of the charity’s 50 per cent stake in ACL and agree indicative terms
August: Ricoh Arena negotiations had fallen apart
August 13: ACL starts court proceedings to recover unpaid rent
October: Verbal offer of £2m by Sisu for charity’s shares in ACL rejected
December: Discussions are held between CCFC and Coventry City Council over stadium ownership
January 14: Coventry City Council buys out ACL’s debt with Yorkshire Bank amid financial difficulties following CCFC’s withdrawal of the £1.3m annual rent. The council agrees to loan the firm £14.4m
February 14: ACL calls in its debt from CCFC for the non payment of rent
February 15: ACL freezes club’s bank accounts
March 13: CCFC Ltd placed in administration
March 21: Paul Appleton appointed administrator of CCFC Ltd
March 28: CCFC deducted ten points for entering administration
April 20: CCFC plays final game at the Ricoh Arena before leaving the stadium
May 3: CCFC announce the club needs a plan to play away from the Ricoh Arena after negotiations over reduced rent levels fall apart
May 7: Coventry Telegraph launches petition to keep CCFC in Coventry
May 23: Club chairman Tim Fisher announces plans for “Highfield Road 2”, a stadium which would be built in three years
June 27: Administrator accepts bid from Sisu firm Otium Entertainment for CCFC Ltd’s assets which include the club’s “Golden Share” which grants the right to field a team in the Football League. There were a total of six initial bids – including one from US tycoon Preston Haskell
July 8: CCFC agrees a three-year deal to play home games at the home of Northampton Town, Sixfields
July 12: ACL launches legal challenge against Northampton Town FC for agreeing Sixfields groundshare
July 20: About 5,000 fans march on Coventry city centre, organised by The Sky Blue Trust in protest at plans to move CCFC out of the city
August 2: CCFC hit with another ten point deduction after ACL and HMRC refuse to sign settlement agreement
August 9: Sisu launches a judicial review into the £14.4m council loan to ACL
August 11: CCFC play their first game at Sixfileds, beating Bristol City 5-4 in front of 1,500 fans. A charity match played on the same day at the Ricoh Arena, featuring CCFC legends, pulls in 5,000.
October 5: ACL drops legal action against Northampton Town FC
April 1: Alan Edward Higgs Charity persues Sisu in court for costs as a result of failed takeover negotiations
April 3: High Court judge throws out Alan Edward Higgs Charity’s claim and Sisu’s counter-claim
June 10-12: Judicial review into Coventry City Council’s £14.4m loan to ACL
June 30: Judge rules that £14.4m Coventry City Council loan to ACL was lawful
July 7: Coventry Telegraph lauches #BringCityHome campaign
July 12: 7,000 people join Sky Blue Trust protest march in Coventry city centre calling for return of club to Coventry
August 7: Football League orders Sisu to pay ACL £471,00 in Ricoh Arena rent row – removing a major obstacle preventing a return
August 19: CCFC play their last game at Sixfields. A 2-2 draw with Barnsley in front of 2,376 supporters
August 21: The Coventry Telegraph reveals that CCFC has agreed a temporary two-year deal to return to the Ricoh Arena – with an option for two more years
September 5: Sky Blues return to the Ricoh Arena for fixture with Gillingham. 27,306 fans watch CCFC win 1-0 via a Frank Nouble goal
September 18: The Coventry Telegraph reveals that Wasps are in talks to takeover the Ricoh Arena
November 4: Wasps agree deal to buy Coventry City Council’s 50 per cent stake in ACL
November 14: The Alan Edward Higgs Higgs rejects a last-ditch bid for their half share of ACL from CCFC. Wasps secure the Alan Edward Higgs charity’s 50 per cent stake in ACL, giving Wasps complete control
December 21: Wasps play their first game at the Ricoh Arena against London Irish, winning 48-16 in front of 28,254 fans
January: Second judicial review launched by Sisu into the terms of the sale of ACL to Wasps
February 3-4: Sisu appeal 2014 judicial review judgment over £14.4m Coventry City Council loan to ACL at Court of Appeal
May 13: Sisu loses appeal
May 18: Coventry City FC confirms Butts Park Arena ground share talks with Coventry RFC
May 26: Sisu’s bid to appeal the defeat at the Court of Appeal is turned down, and the CCFC owners told they must apply directly to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal
August 26: Protesters call for Coventry City owners Sisu to sell the club
July 14: Sisu seeks a second judicial review against Coventry City Council, this time over the sale of Ricoh Arena operating company ACL to Wasps back in 2014, saying the sale was not made on a commercial basis. The case is dismissed by judge Justice Rupinder Singh at the High Court in Birmingham
September 15: The Court of Appeal allows Sisu to challenge the decision of the High Court
November 28: Court of Appeal judge instructs CCFC companies, Wasps and Coventry City to take part in mediation talks to try and solve the situation
March: A mediator is appointed for the peace talks between the parties, with a target for mediation to end by the end of March
June 26-27: Sisu-related companies appear at the Court of Appeal to challenge the High Court decision
October: Coventry City chairman Tim Fisher says the club hopes to start negotiations to stay at the Ricoh Arena soon – and it was “plan A” – despite Wasps repeatedly saying they will not enter discussions until legal proceedings are closed
October 12: The Court of Appeal dismisses Sisu-related companies calls for a judicial review into the sale of the Ricoh
October 17: Council leaders urge Sisu not to “play Russian roulette” with the club’s future and end the long-running legal action
October 19: Sisu are back in the Court of Appeal to challenge the October 12 decision and try to get permission to take the fight to the Supreme Court. The challenge is not allowed
November 23: Sky Blues chief executive Dave Boddy says the club’s future in the English Football League is “severely at risk” after the League tells the club it won’t be allowed to play outside the city if they fail to reach a deal to stay at the Ricoh Arena
November 27: Sisu-related companies apply to Supreme Court for permission to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss a judicial review into the sale of the Ricoh
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