Coventry prepare for season opener with minus ten points

Coventry will begin the season with minus ten points today. Photo: PA

Coventry will begin the new Football League season today already 10 points behind in League One after accepting a deduction as they prepare for liquidation.

The Sky Blues take on Crawley this afternoon relieved to be contesting matters on the pitch after another day of legal battles yesterday.

Coventry City FC Limited's failure to agree a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) with the owners of the Ricoh Arena, their former ground, pushed the club towards liquidation.

But a request for Coventry's share in the Football League to be transferred to the Otium Entertainment Group was accepted, with a 10-point penalty imposed.

The club also ratified plans to play their home games at Northampton's Sixfields ground, starting against Bristol City next Sunday.

That comes as a result of the stand-off between the old CCFC Limited and Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), the owners of the Ricoh, regarding rent.

ACL yesterday proposed changes to the CVA which was given to them by administrator Paul Appleton on Tuesday - alterations which included an offer for the club to return to the Ricoh on reduced rent with a 10-year lease.

Appleton rejected that, though, and ACL voted against the club coming out of administration.

ACL did encourage the administrators to return to them with another proposed CVA saying they had a twin aim to: "First, to keep Coventry City Football Club playing in Coventry; and second, to ensure that Coventry City Football Club is financially viable for the next few years and beyond."

But that now appears to be a moot point considering the developments of yesterday evening and the club's chief executive, Tim Fisher, hopes progress can now start to be made.

"We know that this has been an extremely difficult summer for our supporters and we are truly sorry that all of the attention has been off the field rather than on it," he said.

"There has been a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the club's future but this decision by the Football League means we now have certainty and the club's future is secured.

"We can now get on and put our future plans into action which means building and owning our own stadium in the Coventry area."

The Football League's chairman, Greg Clarke, is unhappy that the relevant parties were unable to reach an agreement, but hopes that the share transfer will conjure the time to allow a new future to be fashioned for the club.

He said: "Once again, it is a source of immense frustration to everyone involved that the two parties in this dispute have failed to reach any agreement. The Board is dismayed at the level of intransigence being shown.

"Nonetheless, The League will continue with its efforts to get the two parties to enter into meaningful negotiations, so that Coventry City can return to Coventry at the earliest opportunity.

"The Board's decision means that these attempts can now be conducted against a backdrop of Coventry City as a continuing member of The Football League, rather than it having to bring an end to the Club's 94 years in league football."

The move to Northampton, some 32 miles away, has not been welcomed by the club's fans and just over 200 of them have purchased season tickets for the coming season.