Sunderland's League One rivals Coventry City risk expulsion from Football League over stadium uncertainty

Sunderland's League One rivals Coventry have been warned they face expulsion from the Football League if they cannot provide information about where they will play their home games next season.

By PA reporter
Friday, 22 February, 2019, 10:36
Sunderland fans away at Coventry City earlier this season.

The EFL board has written to the Sky Bet League One club asking for an update by March 5 on where they intend to be based for the 2019-20 campaign.

The Sky Blues are currently playing at the Ricoh Arena, which is owned by Wasps Rugby Football Club, but the existing rent deal runs out in May.

Wasps are refusing to enter discussions over a new agreement until ongoing legal action regarding the sale of the stadium comes to a close.

If Coventry cannot provide the EFL with more information an Extraordinary General Meeting will be held on April 25 where EFL clubs will consider throwing them out of the league.

The Sky Blues, who are chasing a play-off spot in League One, have called on Wasps to come to an agreement before the deadline.

They said in a club statement: "Coventry have until Tuesday, March 5 2019 to provide a further update to the EFL board.

"Should a satisfactory solution not be found over the next two months, an Extraordinary General Meeting of EFL clubs will be convened to consider Coventry's expulsion from the English Football League.

"This meeting would be held on Thursday, April 25 - this is to provide clarity regarding Coventry's future membership in advance of relegation and promotion issues being resolved during the run-in to the end of the season.

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"These dates show how stark the situation facing the football club now is and that time is running out.

"Our only option is to continue to play at our home, the Ricoh Arena.

"Coventry City Football Club wants to do a deal with Wasps Rugby Club as soon as possible, to resolve this impasse so that the dates above are not encountered.

"All parties now need to work together for good of Coventry City Football Club, its supporters, the Ricoh Arena, the City of Coventry and our community - the continued future of the football club needs to be everyone's focus to prevent more heartache and worry."

EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said: "The matter of Coventry's efforts to secure a home venue for 2019-20 season and beyond has been a serious concern for all parties for a significant period of time and the objective of the EFL, as it has always been, is to secure an appropriate solution for the long-term future of the club as they are a much valued member of our competition.

"The course of action taken this week is with reluctance, but the league has to ensure the integrity of our competitions is maintained and all clubs meet the obligations that come with being a member of the EFL.

"We remain in regular dialogue with the club and will provide all practical available assistance in line with EFL regulations."