Ricoh row: 9,000 sign Coventry City petition

Coventry fans protest Fans held up signs during the 35th minute of their game at Notts County

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A petition to keep Coventry City playing its homes games in the city has been signed by more than 9,000 people in its first week, organisers say.

The team have been playing their home fixtures in Northampton after a rent row with Arena Coventry Ltd (ACL), which manages the Ricoh Arena.

Organisers said they needed 100,000 signatures to get a government inquiry into the situation.

Supporters held a protest at the club's match with Notts County on Saturday.

Michael Orton, from the Keep Cov in Cov Campaign (KCIC), who organised the online petition, said he was "amazed" at the amount of people who had signed it already.

He said the signatures included the club's chief executive Tim Fisher, club non-executive director, Mark Labovitch and ACL board member Peter Knatchbull-Hugessen.

'Hypocritical'

"Every signature on it is one step nearer to getting the kind of inquiry or the grilling of all the parties involved which is exactly what we want," he said.

"If pressure builds you never know some of the parties might think that talking to each other might be a better idea than facing a Parliamentary committee."

Mr Labovitch said he had signed the petition because he wanted all the details "out in the open".

He said: "I think I'd be hypocritical if I didn't sign it. I called for an inquiry a year ago and we'll only really get a solution if everyone knows what's been going on, especially the fans."

The KCIC group held up signs saying "Why?" in the 35th minute of their game at Notts County to symbolise the 35 miles they have to travel from Coventry to watch their team in Northampton.

The Ricoh Arena had been the Sky Blues' base since 2005.

But the team was forced to move to Northampton Town's Sixfields Stadium after a rent row with ACL, which manages the Ricoh Arena on behalf of Coventry City Council and the Alan Edward Higgs Charity.

Speculation has been growing the club has been looking to build a new stadium in the Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council area.

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