Answering questions live in the studio, Labovitch talked about the club’s attempts to purchase their home from 2005 to May this year; The Ricoh Arena, as well as their plans for the stadium they intend to build outside of the jurisdiction of Coventry City Council.
Mark Labovitch transcript:
“It’s absolutely essential for this club, for any other club, to own it’s own stadium to be financially viable in the long term.
“We want this club to be financially viable, as well as playing successfully in the long term, so we have to own our own stadium.
“We’ve been trying to get the council to sell The Ricoh Arena to the club it was built for at a fair, independent valuation.
“There were some encouraging signs, Ann Lucas, the council leader was going to come and meet the club’s owners about a sale.
“She then changed her mind on the train coming down. She was not willing to talk about a sale, only a rental deal.
“So we have to build our own because we need to get back to Coventry as soon as possible and own our own stadium.
“We’ve narrowed down number of sites to two, negotiating in parallel so we don’t take risk of putting all our eggs in one basket.
“As soon as we are able to confirm [the chosen site] we will do. What we want to do is save time.
“We don’t want to stay at Sixfields for a minute longer than we have to, even though they are very good to us there.
“What we’re doing is getting as much of the design work done in advance in preparation for planning permission.
“There are two local authorities involved, they each want an economical impact assessment done to show the benefit of the stadium.
“When the final selection & purchase is done, we will have already hit the ground running.
“You could build a new stadium not much further from the city centre or train station from where The Ricoh Arena is.
“We’ve got to get back to Coventry as soon as possible. We could sit and wait for the council to get their act together and come to the right decision, but we cannot take that risk. We’ve got to get moving.
“Absolutely the finances are in place [to buy The Ricoh.] They don’t want to do that. They don’t want to sell.
“There’s a terrible conflict of interest. I think a sale of The Ricoh might bring to light certain financial transactions that they want to keep covered up.
“We need to leave that behind and get on with running a football club. That means owning our own stadium.
“If we can’t buy the one that’s there, we’ll build a new one.”