Council weighs into Ricoh Arena rent crisis

By Matthew Bates Thursday 06 December 2012 Updated: 10/12 11:29

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COVENTRY City Council has put its weight behind ACL's demand for Coventry City to cough up unpaid rent.

Leader John Mutton released a statement today saying the Ricoh Arena owners' decision was done in the best interest of its shareholders - including the council - employees and other tenants and customers at the stadium.

ACL, owned jointly by the council and the Higgs Trust, issued a statutory demand yesterday (Wednesday) calling for the club to pay back around £1 million in unpaid rent.

The Labour councillor said the firm had no choice after months of 'amicably' trying to find a solution. He branded it a sad day for Coventry.

"The Council fully supports ACL's action," Coun Mutton said.

"CCFC has a legal obligation to pay its rent and ACL's financial position should not be undermined by CCFC's owners failing to do the right thing by the club, ACL and the city.

"The Council's key aim has always been, and will continue to be, to support any business plan or strategy that will ensure the future success of both the club and the Ricoh Arena. The Council and the Higgs Charity will always have the interests of the people of Coventry – taxpayers, local residents and football fans – at the heart of any decision made about the future of the arena."

He added the council would not bailout the football club.

"While the Council will do everything in its power to secure a future for the club, it can not and will not invest public money into the club. It has always made this clear.

"Running a football club is the same as running any business – if it is not earning enough income to meet its outgoings, including its wage bill, it will not survive, and it's not the Council's role or responsibility to bail out unsuccessful businesses."

The statement continued: "The Ricoh Arena was always intended to be far more than just a home for the football club, but also a driver for much needed regeneration in one of the most deprived areas of the city.

"This remains at the heart of the Council's and the Higgs Charity's aspirations for the future of the Ricoh Arena.

"The Ricoh Arena has already supported work to transform the city as a world class destination, with events like Take That, Oasis, Heineken Cup Rugby, Coldplay and Olympic Football. Concerts by Muse and Springsteen next year will continue this success story. It has attracted millions of pounds into the city’s economy - and long may that continue.

"As a Council we will do what we can to support those working hard to find a way forward for both ACL and CCFC."

ACL turned down Sky Blues rent offer:

Councillor brands crisis statements 'a declaration of war':

Ricoh calls in Sky Blues rent debt:

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