ACL - Sky Blues turned down excellent Ricoh rent offer

By Steve Carpenter Thursday 06 December 2012 Updated: 07/12 11:38

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THE CHIEF executive of the company that owns the Ricoh Arena has confirmed an “excellent” offer over the stadium rent was rejected by the Sky Blues.

Jacky Isaac, interim chief executive of ACL, which is jointly owned by Coventry City Council and the Alan Higgs Charity, has confirmed the offer was made at the weekend, just days before issuing the football club with a statutory demand for the £1.1million owed in unpaid rent.

The club claimed yesterday that they are paying way over the odds to play at the 32,000 seater venue.

In a statement, they revealed they were looking to pay the same level of rent and have access to the same type of revenues as other football clubs in League One.

But Isaac, who has been in her role at ACL for two months, said ACL has “bent over backwards” to reach an agreement.

And she repeated that issuing the statutory demand to the club and its owners Sisu is not a course of action the board wanted to take.

“At the weekend we offered them what we genuinely believe to be an excellent deal on the rent - the kind of deal that we simply wouldn’t offer any other tenant,” said Isaac.

“But Sisu has still turned down the offer. It is important that the people of Coventry know that ACL has bent over backwards to be supportive on this.

“Everyone here wants to see the Sky Blues continuing at the Ricoh Arena.

“They’ve been part of the fabric of Coventry for over a century and everyone is sensitive to that. “It’s what made taking this decision all the harder for the Board.”

A war of words erupted between the two parties last week after the club labelled ACL's finances “fragile,” a claim they strongly denied.

In a statement released last week the club said they expected negotiations to continue.

However ACL confirmed yesterday (Wednesday) that a statutory demand had been issued, which gives Sky Blues 21 days to either settle the debt owed, reach an agreement to pay or face insolvency or a possible a winding order.

Isaac added: “After turning down our most recent offer, we have to question whether at any point during our conversations in the last ten months, Sisu ever had any intention of reaching a deal with us.”

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