Sky Blues viability could depend on alternative home ground

By Steve Carpenter Wednesday 05 December 2012 Updated: 11/12 10:46

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THE SKY Blues have stressed they are committed to the people of Coventry after being issued with 21 days to pay over £1million in unpaid rent to the owners of the Ricoh Arena.

Stadium company ACL, which is jointly owned by Coventry City Council and the Alan Higgs Charity, have issued a statutory demand for the money which the club have refused to pay since March 2012.

The demand gives the Sky Blues a Boxing Day deadline to either settle the debt owed, reach an agreement to pay or face insolvency or a possible a winding order.

But in a statement issued this evening, the club have expressed their “disappointment with the actions of ACL.”

And stressed again they that they are unhappy to pay £1.28million annual rent, which they claim is highest annual rent being paid by both a League One and Championship club.

“The Club remains committed to the city and people of Coventry” a statement read. “However, its viability depends on it finding an alternative home ground where it can afford to play.

“The Club’s objective in requesting these negotiations with ACL has been only to bring about a state of commercial normality, where CCFC pays the same level of rent and has access to the same type of ancillary revenues as the other football clubs with which it competes.

“We understand that the average annual rent paid by League One clubs (excluding CCFC) is less than £170,000 and that the average in the Championship is less than £290,000.

“It is unsustainable for CCFC to be put at a severe financial disadvantage to its peers."

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

ACL have continually stressed that their finances are “strong and healthy” but the statement released by the Sky Blues also hinted that the club had helped fund ACL in past.

“While we have been seeking to normalise the rent, we have continued to pay match day costs to ensure that ACL is not left out-of-pocket.

“In addition to defraying ACL’s match day costs, the Club has been subsidising ACL’s general overheads ever since the Sky Blues started playing at the Ricoh Arena, amounting to many millions of pounds over seven years.”

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