Plans for Walsall FC to stage Coventry City matches at the Banks’s Stadium were believed to have taken a leap forward today, with talks reported to have started.
The Saddlers refused to deny the discussions had taken place, although they rejected claims they have agreed a deal for the Sky Blues to play at the Banks’s from next season.
Coventry want to build a new stadium, which would take three years, after financial problems saw them leave the Ricoh Arena at the end of the season. They need a temporary venue while building work is carried out and the Banks’s has been identified as a suitable temporary solution.
Reports from Coventry last night claimed the Sky Blues were in advanced talks over a three-year agreement to play at the Saddlers’ home while their new stadium is built.
Walsall officials today would not deny discussions had taken place but issued a statement insisting it was premature to say a deal had been reached. The statement said: “Walsall FC are categorically denying that a three-year deal to ground-share with Coventry has been agreed.”
Coventry chief executive Tim Fisher today confirmed the club are seeking a ground-share but refused to confirm or deny talks with the Saddlers were under way.
Any move is likely to meet with resistance from Sky Blues fans angry at the prospect of their club moving out of its home city.
The Banks’s Stadium is 27 miles by road from the Ricoh, meaning season ticket holders would be forced to travel an extra 621 miles per season.
More than 10,000 Sky Blues fans have already signed a petition against the club ground-sharing outside the city. Coventry moved to the Ricoh from Highfield Road in 2005, their home for the previous 106 years.
But the last few seasons have seen them mired in financial trouble and the rent dispute with Ricoh owners Arena Coventry Limited overshadowed action on the pitch for most of last season.
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