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Sport minister calls for unity in resolving Coventry's stadium conundrum

Sport minister calls for unity in resolving Coventry's stadium conundrum
© Reuters
The Sky Blues' rent deal at the Ricoh Arena expires in the summer.

Sport minister Jeremy Wright has called on all parties to work together to make sure Coventry remain playing in the city next season.

Investment management company SISU Capital Ltd has owned the Sky Blues since 2007.

In a statement on Wednesday, SISU confirmed it will drop a long-running legal case against Coventry City Council in return for their help to relocate to a purpose-built new home.

SISU also wants the owners of the Ricoh Arena, Premiership rugby club Wasps, to allow the football team to stay at the stadium until a new one is built.

Coventry's rent deal with Wasps expires in the summer and the English Football League has given the Sky Blues a deadline of April 2 to confirm where they will play next season.

On Thursday, Wright, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, chaired a meeting which included representatives from the club, owners Sisu, the EFL, Wasps, Coventry City Council, Premiership Rugby and local Coventry MPs.

Wright hopes a positive outcome can be found.

"This morning's meeting was a good opportunity to have a full and frank discussion and hear from all parties," Wright said in a statement.

"Coventry City's survival is our pre-eminent concern and priority. We would like the club to continue playing in Coventry.

"I've asked the parties to go away and work together urgently to resolve the issue before next season."

Wasps completed the full purchase of the Ricoh Arena in 2014 when they bought Coventry City Council's 50 per cent stake in the stadium and later acquired the remaining shares from the Alan Edward Higgs Charity.

SISU has always contested the sale and launched fresh legal proceedings in early 2017 after the council's decision to sell to Wasps was upheld by a judicial review in 2014 and 2016.

Coventry admitted their stadium impasse raised "significant doubt" over their future when their accounts for the year to May 2018 were released earlier during March.

The Sky Blues revealed they were at risk of expulsion from the Football League if no agreement is reached before an EFL Extraordinary General Meeting on April 25.

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A general shot of the Ricoh Arena in December 2017
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