ACL consider options as talks with Sky Blues collapse

By Steve Carpenter Thursday 14 February 2013 Updated: 19/02 15:45

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Buy photos » Discussions between ACL and the Sky Blues over the Ricoh Arena have broken down again. (s)

THE COMPANY which runs the Ricoh Arena is considering its options after talks between themselves and the Sky Blues collapsed on Thursday.

Stadium company ACL, which is jointly owned by Coventry City Council and the Alan Higgs Charity, issued a statement claiming talks with club owners Sisu over the on-going rent issue have collapsed.

ACL claim the cash-strapped League One club owe £1.347million in arrears after refusing to pay the cost of playing at the stadium since February last year.

They say an agreement was reached for the club to pay £400,000 per annum in rent while the Sky Blues remain in League One.

The deal would also see ACL waive more than £300,000 of the rent arrears, with a generous approach to clearing the total balance and the club were guaranteed to continue receiving matchday revenues.

But instead of confirming, Sky Blues chief executive Tim Fisher asked for the arrears to be cleared.

And he also wants the statutory demand for the payment of rent, which was issued in December 2012, to be dropped, or else the club will look to build a new venue elsewhere.

“There’s simply no point in continuing these discussions while the Club, under Sisu’s ownership, continues to behave in this manner,” said Nicholas Carter, chairman of , ACL.

“To spend many hours engaging in positive and constructive discussions, leading to a detailed point by point discussion of a proposed Heads of Terms Agreement resulting in verbal agreement and handshakes all round; only to then renege when it came to signing the Agreement, is truly reprehensible behaviour.

“We will only be prepared to resume these conversations if John Clarke, Tim Fisher and Mark Labovitch sign up to the deal to which they agreed. “

The Board of ACL believes that Sisu, have no intention of entering into a meaningful dialogue to resolve this issue.

“If the Club Directors can’t or won’t follow through on the Agreement they participated in creating, then we suggest to them that the time has come to consider offering ownership of CCFC to an outside buyer better placed to run the Club’s financial operations.

“Make no mistake, now is the time for Sisu to pay up or sell up and get out of Coventry.”

The Sky Blues have yet to comment on the collapse of talks but are still expected to be hosting Crewe at the Ricoh on February 23.

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