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  • Mitre June 17

Coventry City owners should abandon 'toxic legacy'

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Coventry City has been “run into the ground” by hedge fund owners Sisu according to a Coventry MP.

Jim Cunningham, Labour MP for Coventry South, made the claim during a debate into the future of Coventry City in Westminster Hall, in the Palace of Westminster.

The cross-party debate was organised by the Coventry South MP after the Telegraph called on MPs to intervene in the situation at CCFC and was also attended by the Conservative government’s sports minister Tracey Crouch.

Mr Cunningham also called on Sky Blues’ owners Sisu to put the club up for sale as uncertainty hangs over the club with nowhere to play home matches beyond summer 2018.

The long-term future of the Academy is also in doubt and question marks hang over the club’s training ground which has been put forward by the owners as a possible location for housing.

Speaking with the protection of parliamentary privilege, which protects MPs from any possible legal action in relation to defamatory statements, Mr Cunningham accused Sisu of ‘running the club into the ground’. 

“The Football League and the FA must explain how the owners can pass the fit and proper persons test and proceed to run the club into the ground.”

Coventry City’s deal to play games at the Ricoh Arena is due to expire at the end of the 2017/18 season and talks over a long-term extension with stadium landlords Wasps broke down after the rugby club pulled out citing the “distraction” of ongoing legal action over the Ricoh Arena by CCFC owners Sisu.

During the debate sports minister Tracey Crouch said she would be willing to consider mediating in the Ricoh Arena dispute.

She added: “I sincerely hope history doesn’t repeat itself and the club doesn’t end up playing outside the city again.”

She said: “Nobody has ever believed Sisu’s stadium plans have ever been anything other than a smokescreen. The only viable option to secure Coventry City's future in the city is to sign an extension to the agreement at the Ricoh Arena. 

“If they are incapable of achieving this then they should sell up and go as the Coventry Telegraph has called on them to do so.”

Mrs Fletcher is due to meet Football League officials this week after she said the organisation’s response to the situation at CCFC was “not good enough” after it refused to answer questions about the club’s future posed by the Telegraph.

Football governance campaigner, and Department for Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee member, Damian Collins MP was also at the debate today.

He confirmed the situation at Coventry City would be brought up during a meeting with the FA planned for next week.

ZT

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