ACL - Ricoh deal good news for the people of Coventry

By Steve Carpenter Tuesday 15 January 2013 Updated: 16/01 16:33

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Buy photos » The Sky Blues moved to the Ricoh Arena in 2005. (s)

THE COMPANY that runs the Ricoh Arena believes a multi-million pound bail-out deal with Coventry City Council will benefit the people of the city.

Councillors have agreed a deal to safeguard the stadium and pay off owners' ACL's existing debts to Yorkshire Bank, which are believed to stand at £14.4million.

It effectively leaves the council as the stadium's bank, with interest rates set at a lower level than before.

And ACL, which is jointly owned by Coventry City Council and the Alan Higgs Charity, is pleased that the councillors have made this decision.

A spokesperson said: "This decision is good news for the Ricoh Arena and good news for the great City of Coventry.

"For ACL, it will help provide greater long term financial stability and certainty to our business - which has a proven track record of attracting inward investment and driving regeneration in the city of Coventry.

"But the ACL Board also believes that it will benefit the council taxpayers of Coventry by strengthening an asset which will generate income for the city for many years to come."

The Sky Blues and ACL have been in talks over the current rent issue which hit boiling point last month.

ACL issued the football club with a statutory demand at the beginning of December to pay over £1 million-worth of unpaid rent within 21 days or face a winding-up order.

The action was taken after the club rejected an offer by ACL to reduce the annual rent by almost two thirds to just £400,000 and they also gave them ten years to pay back the money owed.

Since then, the club have confirmed they have looked into the possibility of moving away from the stadium to fulfil their fixtures as negotiations between the two parties continue into January.

"We now hope that Coventry City's owners – the Mayfair based hedge fund Sisu – will take this opportunity to engage with us properly to resolve the rent dispute.

"We also hope that they will present to the Board of ACL a workable financial and business plan which will put CCFC on a secure and proper financial footing for the long term."

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