Coventry City could confirm their Ricoh Arena return as soon as Friday.
According to reports on Thursday, Mark Robins’ side were ‘edging closer’ to an agreement with the stadium’s owners, Arena Coventry Limited, about a return to the city.
The matter was due to be discussed at an EFL meeting yesterday.
City have been playing games away from the Ricoh since the start of the 2019-20 season, groundsharing with Championship rivals Birmingham City.
The club have been in dispute with ACL since 2019 and played their most recent game in Coventry back in May of that year.
CoventryLive can confirm that it’s understood that the deal will be a ten year agreement, guaranteed for a minimum of seven years.
There is expected to be a break clause to allow the football club to move to its proposed new stadium, which the club hope to build at the Warwick University site.
CoventryLive also understands that, commercially, this will be the best deal the football club have ever had in terms of revenue streams from food and beverages and car parking in all their time at the Ricoh Arena – that having been a contentious issue in previous negotiations with the stadium owners.
Wasps, meanwhile, are understood to have put aside the issue of the Sky Blues’ complaint to the European Commission over the sale of the Ricoh Arena – a major stumbling block in previous negotiations to return to the stadium – in order to get a deal done.
It’s understood that the complaint is still on-going at the EC.
The Sky Blues were set to inform the EFL at a board meeting yesterday where they intend to play next season and provide details of who will have ‘primacy of fixtures,’ which means priority over when matches are played between the football club and Premiership rugby club.
The EFL initially said the Sky Blues could play outside the city of Coventry for up to three years and insisted upon regular updates from the football club about the state of play regarding a possible return.
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Any agreement is expected to be for the start of next season and there’s no suggestion that the Sky Blues will be back at the Ricoh before the end of the current campaign, which has just five ‘home’ games left to play.
Speaking in February, Sky Blues chief executive Dave Boddy spoke about how bringing the club back to Coventry remains a priority.
“One of my main objectives still remains to try and bring the football club back to the Ricoh Arena,” he said.
Boddy added: “As we have previously stated, we cannot discuss the matter publicly due to non-disclosure agreements that both ourselves and Wasps have signed, but alongside the aspirations of the ownership to build a new stadium at the University of Warwick, in the short-term this remains a priority to me.
“We will continue to work hard to try and drive the football club forward and achieve both our short and longer term goals.
“This is a fantastic club that has made much progress over recent years and there are hopefully further great times ahead for us all to enjoy. Thank you for your support.”
It is City’s second stint away from the Ricoh, having spent the 2013-14 campaign at Northampton Town’s Sixfields stadium.