Troubled League One side Coventry City hit with 10-point penalty

The club had already been forced out of their home stadium and plan to share with Northampton

Coventry will start the new SkyBet Football League season in League One with a 10-point deduction after the League transferred their share to the Otium Entertainment Group.

Coventry City FC Limited this morning failed to agree a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) with the owners of the Ricoh Arena, their former ground, and said in the aftermath that liquidation and a points deduction was expected.

In a statement tonight, the club said CCFC Limited would enter liquidation and that they had accepted the League's point deduction.

The Sky Blues are at Crawley tomorrow but when they start their home campaign they will play at Northampton's Sixfields ground - a move that has also been ratified tonight.

That comes as a result of the stand-off between the old CCFC Limited and Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), the owners of the Ricoh, regarding rent.

ACL today proposed changes to the CVA which was given to them by administrator Paul Appleton on Tuesday - alterations which included an offer for the club to return to the Ricoh on reduced rent with a 10-year lease.

Appleton rejected that, though, and ACL voted against the club coming out of administration.

ACL did encourage the administrators to return to them with another proposed CVA saying they had a twin aim to: "First, to keep Coventry City Football Club playing in Coventry; and second, to ensure that Coventry City Football Club is financially viable for the next few years and beyond."

But that now appears to be a moot point considering the developments of this evening and the club's chief executive, Tim Fisher, hopes progress can now start to be made.

"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," he said.

"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."

The Football League's chairman, Greg Clarke, is unhappy that the relevant parties were unable to reach an agreement, but hopes that the share transfer will conjure the time to allow a new future to be fashioned for the club.

He 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."

The move to Northampton, some 32 miles away, has not been welcomed by the club's fans and just over 200 of them have purchased season tickets for the coming season.

PA

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