Coventry City owners compile possible new stadium sites

Sisu, which owns English League One football club Coventry City, has compiled a long list of potential new stadium sites, as the club hopes to return to the city as soon as possible.

The English League One football club is currently ground-sharing with Championship club and Midlands rival Birmingham City at its 29,000-capacity St Andrew’s stadium.

Sisu recently re-engaged land experts to push for a new stadium of its own, rather than playing at the Wasps Rugby-owned 32,000-seat Ricoh Arena.

Sky Blues chief executive Dave Boddy explained at the latest meeting of the Coventry City Supporters Forum that 18 possible sites have been located for a new stadium, with Sisu having prepared the short list for the club to choose its preferred option. The locations were not revealed, and Boddy did not confirm that they were all within the city itself.

Boddy also said the club had not ruled out at a possible return to the Ricoh, as the club’s intention is to return to Coventry as soon as possible. However, he added that there has been no movement in the disagreement between Sisu and the Ricoh Arena’s owners.

Last month, it was reported that Coventry City Council helped Sisu’s land agents in identifying suitable sites for the proposed new stadium. According to the Coventry Telegraph, Boddy confirmed that two of the shortlist suggestions are from the local authorities’ team of senior planning and development officers who have had no involvement in the ongoing litigation.

Prior to the season starting, the English Football League (EFL) “reluctantly agreed” to a groundshare arrangement between Coventry and Birmingham, after discussions to keep Coventry in its home city at the Ricoh Arena did not reach the desired conclusion.

The decision was taken amid a long-running battle between Sisu, which owns Coventry, and Wasps Holdings Limited, the parent company of Premiership rugby union club Wasps and owner of the Ricoh Arena.

At the time, Sisu argued that Coventry City Council undervalued the sale of the Ricoh Arena to Wasps by £28m (€31.5m/$35.7m). Sisu had taken its complaint over the sale of the stadium to the European Commission over claims the deal broke state aid rules.

Wasps moved from London to Coventry as part of the Ricoh Arena deal, which saw the football club assume tenant status at the venue it has played at since 2005. Coventry also spent the 2013-14 season ground-sharing with Northampton Town amid another stadium dispute.

Image: Ricoh Arena