“During 2016, the English Football League agreed new rules requiring Clubs to meet requirements for supporter engagement. Before those rules were agreed, Coventry City FC had a Supporters Consultative Group (SCG) which, in recent years, had become unrepresentative of Sky Blue fans generally and seriously dysfunctional in the way it operated. The Club’s response to the new EFL rules was to abolish the SCG and put nothing in its place.
"We read that the Club CEO, Dave Boddy, is now working on plans for a replacement to the disbanded SCG. We welcome Mr Boddy’s good intentions regarding communication with supporters. The Sky Blue Trust have offered to assist with that but have had no response to that offer. We will be interested to see how Mr Boddy proposes to ensure that any new group complies with the EFL Regulations, which require supporter representatives to "be elected, selected or invited in line with basic democratic principles.” An approach to supporter engagement, which to date appears to involve discussion with no-one but the former SCG chair, does not instil confidence that the process will demonstrate the required application of “basic democratic principles”.
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As the last months of the agreement for the Coventry City to play home games at the Ricoh Arena pass by, the Sky Blue Trust are attempting to increase the pressure on all those responsible and all those who could do something to resolve this fiasco. As part of this, after each home game, we write to one of those people or organisations, asking what they are doing to keep Coventry City in the City of Coventry.
Three weeks ago, when there were just 18 games to go, we wrote to Joy Seppala, asking her to tell supporters what steps she is taking to secure a suitable home ground for Coventry City beyond the end of the current season. She has not replied, despite a reminder.
Two weeks ago, when only 17 home games remained to be played, we wrote to Wasps, expressing understanding at the difficult position created by the continuing court action against the City Council and Wasps by Otium Entertainment Group Limited (i..e. Coventry City FC) and other SISU owned companies. However, we asked Wasps to explain in what circumstances the current agreement for Coventry City to play their home games at the Ricoh Arena might be extended beyond the end of the current season. Wasps replied within two days saying that they understand the level of anxiety amongst supporters. They went on to say:
"However, as I hope you will understand, given the ongoing legal proceedings, it is not possible for us to comment either publicly or privately on the current position.We hope that this may change in the near future and that, at that point, it may be possible to establish greater clarity over the situation.”
Yesterday, after the home defeat by Forest Green Rovers, with just 16 home League games to go, we wrote to the City Council. After once again expressing our understanding of the problems caused by the Club’s continuing court action, we asked what steps the City Council has taken, is taking or proposes to take to enable Coventry City to continue to play their home games in the City of Coventry beyond the end of the current season?
We added that
"it has been suggested by CCFC Chairman, Tim Fisher, that a tenancy at Butts Park Arena (BPA) is the preferred option for the football club to play its games from next season. Would the City Council be willing to take a pro-active role to enable the necessary development of BPA by Coventry Rugby Club and Coventry City Football Club if a formal proposal were put forward by them? What could be the potential obstacles to such a proposal? (eg planning, traffic, parking, residents’ concerns etc.) In your opinion, could such a development be completed before the start of the 2018/19 football season in August 2018?”
We will share the response from the City Council as soon as we have it.
Following Saturday’s home game against Colchester United there will be just 15 games to go. We will be writing to another individual with responsibility for the current state of affairs.
The Sky Blue Trust would like to congratulate Sky Blues boss Mark Robins on his nomination for the League 2 Manager of the Month award for September. Although not the overall winner, Kevin Nolan was a worthy recipient, the inclusion of our manager on the shortlist was thoroughly deserved. Under Robins guidance the team have made an impressive start to the season highlighted by a great run of results in September for which he has been quite rightly recognised by the Football League panel. Although still early in the season the signs are encouraging that fans may now realistically look forward to the prospect of a promotion challenge. Large numbers of city fans are looking forward to following the team at both Barnet tomorrow and Accrington Stanley the following week and several members of the Trust board will be amongst them hoping that the good run continues.Like most city fans we believe that in Mark Robins we have an excellent manager who we hope can inspire our team to a successful conclusion to the season and that this nomination could well be the first of several to come his way during his reign as Sky Blues manager. Keep up the good work Mark, we are fully behind you.
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