Coventry City confirms plans for new stadium

Newly promoted Championship football team Coventry City has announced today (Tuesday) that it is working with the University of Warwick to explore a potential new stadium for the club.

The two parties have commenced planning for a partnership that would see the university provide land to the club for the development of a new stadium. An exact site has yet to be agreed but Coventry said its proximity would be on the agricultural field area of the university land on its main campus.

The club would own and be entirely responsible for the cost of the stadium and its operations and would receive all stadium revenues it generates. The stadium would be environmentally friendly in terms of materials, energy, noise, building and access.

Coventry said that fans would arrive at the stadium through a new light rail station at the ground, which would run alongside a new link road. The club stressed that the project would require significant discussion and partnership work with surrounding local authorities, the West Midlands Combined Local Authority and the LEP.

The capacity of the stadium was not disclosed by the club but Coventry Live reported that it would seat around 20,000, with the potential to expand to 35,000 if required. The project could take up to five years.

Coventry’s statement added: “The club and the university wanted to make people aware of this exciting new development as soon as possible and hope that in doing so, it will pave the way to many discussions needed with a range of partners to progress this project. The club and the university do not expect to issue any further joint statements on this initiative until there is significant news that we can share.”

The 2019-20 season saw Coventry win promotion to the second-tier Championship and the club spent the entire campaign playing at Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s stadium. The groundshare deal was signed amid a long-running battle between Sisu, which owns Coventry, and Wasps Holdings Limited, the parent company of Premiership Rugby club Wasps and the Ricoh Arena, where Coventry had previously played its home games.

Sisu has argued that Coventry City Council undervalued the sale of the 32,000-seat Ricoh Arena to Wasps by £28m (€31.1m/$35.6m). Sisu had taken its complaint 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 groundsharing with Northampton Town amid another stadium dispute.

Last December, Sisu compiled a long list of potential new stadium sites and Coventry chief executive Dave Boddy had not ruled out the possibility of a return to the Ricoh Arena. Coventry Live reports that the club is in negotiations over a return to the Ricoh for the new season, although it has the option to remain in Birmingham.

Image: Coventry City