Championship football club Coventry City has been forced to move its Carabao Cup match against Bristol City to the Pirelli Stadium, home of Burton Albion, as the pitch at the Coventry Building Society Arena is still not deemed playable following its use during the Commonwealth Games.
Coventry’s Championship match against Rotherham on Sunday was postponed after a senior match official found that the surface was “unsafe and unplayable”.
The CBS Arena was used to host rugby sevens matches during the Commonwealth Games, while the venue also staged concerts from Rammstein and The Killers over the summer.
Coventry expressed its frustration that the pitch was not up to standard for the Rotherham match, and tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) game against Bristol City has now become the second fixture to be affected.
Coventry held discussions with stadium staff yesterday and it was decided that there will not be sufficient improvement of the playing surface for the match to be played at the CBS Arena tomorrow.
The club is unable to reverse the fixture and play it at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate stadium, so the Pirelli Stadium has been selected as an alternative venue. Coventry said it explored other options, including EFL and non-league clubs locally, but this was not possible.
Coventry’s next home match is against Wigan Athletic on August 16 and the club hopes the required improvements will have been made to the pitch by then.
The CBS Arena is owned by Premiership rugby union club Wasps, which Coventry shares the stadium with. Coventry said on Saturday that promised investment into a new pitch did not materialise over the summer, with the club’s chief executive Dave Boddy stating that urgent talks would be held with his Wasps counterpart Stephen Vaughan.
Following the decision to move tomorrow’s match to Burton, Boddy said: “It is with regret we have had to do this, but there was no way that it can be guaranteed the pitch could be playable or safe on Wednesday and it was important this decision was taken sooner rather than later.
“Over the weekend, we have seen questions from fans about the situation and about why we did not ask for our first two games to be played away, but this was not possible under EFL fixture sequencing rules which apply equally to all clubs.
“Regardless, this does not change the fact that the pitch at the Arena is not currently playable or safe for our games last Sunday or this Wednesday.
“Following the usage at the Commonwealth Games, our first opportunity to survey the pitch in person was on Thursday due to the stadium lockdown, at which point we put the wheels in motion with the EFL and with the Arena to address this issue. We are in dialogue with the Arena about the situation regarding the pitch and will keep fans updated as soon as we are able to regarding the pitch.”
Boddy also thanked Burton for making its stadium available at short notice. Coventry will make arrangements for fans who are unable to attend the game in Burton or no longer wish to go.