Coventry City: Sky Blues chairman Tim Fisher outlines Butts Park Arena move

Coventry RFC's Butts Park Arena is also currently home to non-league football side Coventry United and rugby league side Coventry Bears
Coventry RFC's Butts Park Arena is also currently home to non-league football side Coventry United and rugby league side Coventry Bears

Coventry City chairman Tim Fisher says the relegation-threatened League One club are still planning to leave the Ricoh Arena - and share Coventry Rugby's Butts Park Arena.

He told a Sky Blue Trust supporters' meeting on Monday night that Coventry RFC chairman Jon Sharp has now agreed in principle to the move.

City are currently contracted to stay as tenants at the Ricoh until 2018.

And Fisher admitted club owners Sisu have cancelled plans for a new ground.

"We weren't able to close a land deal on our own stadium - full stop," he told the meeting.

"But we have spent a lot of time working with the Football League and Coventry Rugby Club to develop a stadium which would be more than ample in terms of capacity."

"It's the preferred option because it keeps us in the city. We are committed to staying in Coventry.

"Jon Sharp has made a statement over the last day or so which shows his commitment, as long as we have some form of mediation. If he can accommodate the football club, and all the infrastructure challenges, then that's what they will do.

"As long as there is a breakout of peace, I believe the Butts Park Arena is an option for a Coventry RFC and Coventry City groundshare."

Tim Fisher has been involved with Coventry City since owners Sisu took over the club in 2007
Tim Fisher has been involved with Coventry City since owners Sisu took over the club in 2007

Dark times for Coventry City

Questions remain to be answered over the possible upgrade and renovation of a ground which, on Fisher's own estimate, could have a capacity of "anything from 12,000 up to 25,000".

But the renewed talk of the Butts Park Arena, closer to the centre of the city, does appear a step forward for the club's long-suffering fans.

Although more than 40,000 tickets have been sold for City's first trip to the new Wembley for the EFL Trophy final against Oxford United on 2 April, they are bottom of League One, having won just five of their 38 games this season under four different managers.

And although it might not be long before relegation to League Two is confirmed, it might at least not now happen before City walk out at Wembley on Sunday week.

But, if they lose at home to Bristol Rovers on Saturday, they could then be within one defeat of dropping into English football's bottom tier for the first time since 1959.

Apart from spending the 2013-14 season in exile in Northampton following their fall-out with the then Ricoh Arena owners ACL, the Sky Blues have played at the stadium on the outskirts of the city since leaving their old Highfield Road home in 2005.

After returning to the stadium in 2014, they then had a change of landlords when Premiership rugby giants Wasps took over its running after moving from High Wycombe.

The Butts Park Arena is currently home to three teams, Coventry RFC, semi-professional rugby league side Coventry Bears and non-league side Coventry United, who play in the Midland Football League Premier Division, having been formed in 2013 by disillusioned Sky Blues fans in reaction to the move to Northampton.

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