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Sky Blues Stadium Faces New Threat

Coventry City’s new arena could be broadsided by a plan to build a stadium just ten miles away in Birmingham.

Bosses at the National Exhibition Centre are considering a scheme to build a stadium with a sliding roof that could also be used for staging huge indoor pop concerts.

The Sky Blues arena, being built on the site of the former Foleshill gasworks, is to become the biggest indoor concert venue in Europe. It is to have a both a retractable roof and a pitch.

Arena 2001

City chairman Bryan Richardson said he envisages the stadium being in use nearly every night of the week. If there is no football then the stadium could be used for pop concerts.

But this would rely on linking up with a company with an established reputation for running high-profile events, to make sure that big names could be attracted to the stadium.

It was thought that the NEC group, based ten miles away, were the likely candidates for this.

The NEC has been considering expansion plans at its own site. Recently developers were asked to make suggestions as to what could be done with nearby land so the current facilities could be added to.

A range of suggestions has come in, including plans for a multi-purpose 50,000-seater stadium. Its uses could include tennis and athletics.

The presence of a large, modern stadium just miles away from the Arena 2001 will be a major threat to the Sky Blues’ plans.

An NEC spokesperson stressed that all the options were being considered, but no decisions had yet been made. The developers had been given a blank canvas to see what ideas they could come up with.

Coventry City have already sold their Highfield Road ground for redevelopment. Bryan Richardson said the financial activities of the £140 stadium are being run through a separate company, and football will not be affected by the cost of the deal.

Work has been delayed because of the need to find a new home for a family that has lived in the shadow of the last remaining gas-holder for 40 years.

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CWN / Sport / Football / Coventry City FC / 7 Dec 00
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