The importance of the academy to CCFC cannot be overemphasised – it has produced a large number of very talented and successful players for the club over the years, many of whom have graced the Sky Blue shirt with distinction and some who have moved on to pastures new thus providing vital revenue for the club.
Recent developments at the Alan Edward Higgs centre, where the academy is based, have cast doubt over the future of this important component of the Coventry City infrastructure. The club have been based at the centre for a decade but in the past couple of years their relationship with the centre owners and management has been fractious and even broken when the academy left, albeit temporarily, their traditional base. On their return they did so on a finite contact that expires in July 2017 and have block booked the facilities they require on a rolling 3 month basis.
With the new centre owners stated plans to convert the vital indoor pitch into a swimming pool followed by the additional blow that Wasps were to build a training facility at the Higgs City fans were thrown into a furore. The new Wasps structure would be constructed on the site of the current outdoor pitch and Wasps would also take possession of several of the outdoor pitches.
All this news has disconcerted Sky Blues fans almost universally and the Trust immediately called upon all parties involved to put past differences aside and work together to ensure the continuation of a Sky Blue Academy.
To this end the Trust had several meetings and discussions with CSF, Wasps and CCFC to get their perspective on events and get their assurance that they were willing to enter into meaningful discussions with each other. All three parties held their own views on what had gone on previously but all indicated that they would be willing to work with the others to try and ensure a positive outcome. The Trust has even offered to host and broker the talks in necessary.
CCFC are consulting the Football League to discuss exactly what they need to retain the Academy as a Category 2 status or at worst Category 3. Once this has been established there will be a framework for all parties to work around. It will mean some changes and some compromise but the over-riding aim must be the continuation of an Academy at Coventry City.
Once again this proves that on going constructive dialogue is the answer. We believe that and as long as all parties are open and willing to work together then things can be achieved. Let us hope that this isn’t all just so much hot air, that people stop using the Academy as a political football and that everyone is genuine in their desire to ensure there is an Academy for CCFC now and in the future.
This article was amended to reflect new information from CCFC, that they were consulting the League about academy requirements, not the FA