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

St Andrews
Image: Coventry City will play their home matches at St Andrew's next season after negotiations between the Sky Blues, Wasps and SISU over the League One club's status at the Ricoh broke down

Coventry City have confirmed they will share St Andrew's with Birmingham City for their home games next season.

The decision was made after last-minute negotiations between League One Coventry City's owners SISU and Premiership rugby club Wasps, the owners of the Ricoh Arena, broke down.

It was thought an agreement was close on a deal which would see the Sky Blues remain at the Ricoh for a further two years, but the two parties have been unable to agree a deal.

Coventry finalised a provisional groundshare agreement with Birmingham City in May to play at St Andrew's for the 2019/20 season.

Following the confirmation, a statement on Coventry's website read: "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.

Mark Robbins hopes a deal to stay at the Ricoh can be struck before Sunday's final home game.
Image: Mark Robins guided Coventry to eighth in League One in 2018/19

"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.

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"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."

A statement from Birmingham City read: "The move is necessary to ensure Coventry City fulfil their fixtures and therefore retain their status in the EFL.

"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."

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Under current EFL protocols, the board maintain its member clubs "should only play in the towns and cities from which they take their name".

A statement from the governing body added: "This is a decision that has not been taken lightly and it is regrettable that the parties involved have been unable to find a suitable and sensible solution.

"The EFL board calls on all parties to resolve this matter at the earliest convenience for the benefit of the City of Coventry, the club and people living in the local community."

The EFL will enforce a £1m bond payment upon Coventry and a quarterly review in order for the board to be updated on developments ahead of 2020/21.

It is understood, that with fixtures for next season due to be released in less than a fortnight, the league had insisted on a decision in time to co-ordinate fixtures for Birmingham and Coventry ahead of the 2019/20 season's kick-off on August 3.

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