Coventry City to groundshare with Birmingham City for 2019/20 season

Coventry City will play their home games at Birmingham City’s ground for the 2019/20 season.

The two clubs have come to an agreement, it was announced on Friday, for the Sky Blues to play at St Andrew’s.

Coventry failed to strike a deal with Wasps to play at the Ricoh Arena and have been forced to groundshare next season in order to fulfil their fixtures and retain their place in the EFL.

Coventry will play their home games at St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium next season

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Coventry will play their home games at St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium next season

It is not the first time the club have been forced into a groundshare away from the city.

In 2013, they shared with Northampton and that move away lasted 13 months before returning to the Ricoh Arena.

Coventry supporters will now face a 40-mile round trip for home games.

A Birmingham statement read: “Coventry’s situation in regard the Ricoh Arena is a complex one and we have every sympathy for their plight, and that of their supporters.

“Birmingham City has been in talks with Coventry City for a number of weeks about the groundshare and we always felt it important to try and help and support our neighbours, as part of the wider footballing family in this region, however we could.

“We will work closely with Coventry City to ensure the matchday experience at the St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium is as enjoyable and welcoming as possible in the coming season.

“Further details about the groundshare will be released in due course by the clubs.”

Coventry also released a lengthy statement giving background detail on the issues they have faced with trying to reach an agreement so they could stay at the Ricoh Arena.

The full statement released by the club said: “Coventry City Football Club can confirm that it will groundshare at Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium for the 2019/20 season.

“The club has delayed any stadium announcement in the hope that a deal could be agreed with Wasps to play at the Ricoh Arena. The deadline has passed and unfortunately there has been no agreement. To ensure we fulfil our home fixtures and therefore retain our place in the EFL, CCFC will be groundsharing next season.

“We know full well that this is a very sad day for Coventry City Football Club, the City of Coventry, Coventrians and most importantly Sky Blues supporters.

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“We are incredibly disappointed and extremely frustrated that continuing differences between our owners SISU and Wasps, and also Coventry City Council, could not be set aside to allow for a deal to play the club’s home games at the Ricoh Arena. The Ricoh Arena is the stadium built to be the football club’s home, and our fans should be able to watch their team play in the city that we are proud to represent.

“We have said previously and continue to state publicly and clearly, the club’s willing intention to do a deal to stay at the Ricoh Arena. However, in order for a deal to be agreed between landlord and tenant, the conditions for the deal need to be deliverable by the tenant. What the landlord requested of CCFC’s owners and ultimately, the club, was simply not deliverable. It can be argued that the landlord was fully aware of this.

“As such, after much hard-work behind the scenes to avoid this by staff at the club and friends of the club in our community, we now find ourselves in a groundshare situation. This is beyond regrettable.

Coventry will spend at least one season away from the Ricoh Arena

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Coventry will spend at least one season away from the Ricoh Arena

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“Supporters of Coventry City Football Club are now facing, for a second time, the prospect of enforced groundshare and the decision to attend matches or not – a situation and decision that no football fan should have to ever face.

“We understand the strength of feeling in regard to a groundshare. We wholeheartedly share your feeling that Coventry City should play in Coventry. This decision was our last resort and was made to ensure the club can fulfil its fixtures next season.

“We would like to thank Birmingham City and their staff for their continued support in this situation, and the wider football community and other sporting clubs who have reached out to offer their assistance.

“Moving forward, we want as many fans as possible to come and support the team while we are playing our matches in Birmingham. However, we recognise that fans will make their own choices to come to games or not – and we encourage every fan to respect the decisions of all other Sky Blues supporters.

“As a club we fully understand and respect the difficult choice our fans face, and we know that those who may choose not to attend, do so with a heavy heart and still in full support of their team. We also acknowledge the fact that fans who do attend may not endorse the groundshare situation, but are there to support their team.

“We encourage every fan to come to watch Mark Robins’s team continue to build on the successes of 2018/2019. Mark and his staff have already recruited strongly, with five additions to date and more players lined up to join the squad. After just missing out on the Play-Offs last season, the aim is to have a team on the pitch that all our supporters can be proud of and to push for promotion once more.

“Details regarding 2019/20 Season Tickets and other arrangements will be confirmed shortly.”