Will Coventry City FC go bust or lose tenancy for not paying rent for almost a year? Is the managing company in debt as well? Does the club still have a chance to buy the venue? Questions keep arising as tension grows over Ricoh Arena’s future.
Arena Coventry Ltd. is outraged as Coventry City FC has been avoiding payments since March, claiming the rates are too high. Club’s arrears will soon reach £1 million for the rent only, but that’s just a small piece of Sky Blues’ problems with annual losses going far bigger than that.
The club decided to hit back at the Ricoh Arena managing company. Coventry City FC chief executive Tim Fisher, in a strongly-worded statement issued to the Telegraph, accused ACL of playing hard-ball because of its own high debt levels, and drops in stadium sponsorship and naming rights revenue. ACL refuse to comment on its financial situation, though, giving only limited information that many planned events are sold out.
This however doesn’t solve the main problem – City are the anchor tenant and should the club go into liquidation, both sides will have even more problems. Sky Blues recently attempted to take over Ricoh Arena (50% share), claiming this is vital for the club to stop generating loss in matchday operations. Talks over this proposition broke down, though, as tension is growing between CCFC and ACL.
Jacky Isaac, ACLs interim chief executive, said: "The board of ACL has worked patiently with the club and its owners, the Mayfair-based hedge fund Sisu, for nine months, to attempt to resolve the rent arrears issue.
"The board of ACL is continuing discussions with Sisu to find a way in which the club can continue to operate on a sustainable basis.