In the last ten minutes, the Football League have confirmed they have awarded Otium Entertainment Group Limited the Golden Share for Coventry City to compete in the 2013/2014 Season, and have deducted the club 10 points.
The ten point deduction is somewhat of a shock, with the majority expecting at least a 15-point deduction following the confirmation Coventry City Limited are to be liquidated following ACL’s rejection of the CVA proposed by administrator Paul Appleton earlier today.
One possible reason for a ten point deduction, rather than that of 15, is that City are entering the season which starts tonight/tomorrow still in administration, with the possibility of a further 15 point deduction once the confirmation that Coventry City Limited has officially been liquidated – meaning City could actually be facing a 25 point deduction, however this has not been confirmed nor denied by The Football League.
FULL COVENTRY CITY FOOTBALL CLUB STATEMENT:
The decision today left very little time ahead of tomorrow’s opening day fixture against Crawley Town to get the membership ratified and ensure the club’s participation in the new season.
Rather than the statutory 15 points penalty, the club will now receive a ten points deduction going into the new season while the awarding of the membership of the Football League provides certainty for the future.
Coventry City have also been cleared to play their home matches at Sixfields Stadium.
Tim Fisher, chief executive of Coventry City Football Club, said: “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.
“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.
“It has been a very difficult time but Coventry City Football Club moves forward.
“It’s made all the harder by the fact that the adjournments pushed the club right up to the deadline for the start of the season.
“Surely the events of the last few days and the abuse of the administration process highlight that the club had been left with very little room for manoeuvre.
“Indeed, I am sure that all the fans are aware that the very reason ACL stated for filing for administration in the first place was to avoid liquidation and a points deduction this season. Liquidation is exactly what they pushed for and succeeded in getting today.
“Whilst the points deduction is not welcomed, we believe the ten point penalty proves that the Football League recognises the very difficult circumstances the club has been operating under.
“None of us want to start the season away from the club’s home city but previous refusals to take up our offer of negotiation or arbitration meant we were forced to find a ground to complete our fixtures.
“It is a great shame that on the eve of the season, off-the-field matters are still dominating but it is now time to offer full support to Steven Pressley and wish him and his team good luck tomorrow and for the rest of the season.”
FULL FOOTBALL LEAGUE STATEMENT:
Following the failure of Coventry City FC Limited’s Company Voluntary Arrangement earlier today, the Board of The Football League has considered an application by the Administrator’s preferred bidder, the Otium Entertainment Group, for a transfer of the club’s share in The Football League under the ‘exceptional circumstances’ provision of The League’s Insolvency Policy.
The Board has agreed to transfer the Club’s share on the basis that it accepts a 10 point deduction for the 2013/14 season. This decision will enable Coventry City to continue its membership of The Football League, despite the failure of its CVA, and participate in the 2013/14 Sky Bet League 1 season.
Football League Chairman, Greg Clarke 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.”