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SBD Global/June 12, 2013/Franchises

League One Coventry City Allowed To Stay At Ricoh Arena Rent-Free Next Season

Ricoh Arena owners said on Tuesday that League One Coventry City "can stay at its Ricoh Arena home rent-free next season while the English third-tier club try to sort out their debts," according to Clare Fallon of REUTERS. The company said, "Arena Coventry Limited (ACL) has agreed to allow the club to play its home games free of any rental fee, therefore removing the need for the supporters to travel outside the city to watch home games." ACL said the rent-free season "would allow Coventry to fulfil their league commitments." Expenses such as stewarding and lighting "would be charged to the club at cost price" (REUTERS, 6/11). The COVENTRY TELEGRAPH reported it remains to be seen how hedge fund Sisu-owned Coventry City Football Club (Holdings) Ltd. -- "which has been continuing to operate the club" -- will respond to Tuesday's statement. It has been drawing up plans to build a new stadium in "the Coventry area" within three years -- "and play outside the city in the meantime, possibly at Walsall's Banks's stadium." Holdings CEO Tim Fisher has said that "it would not go back to the Ricoh, as ACL had made it clear negotiations over a rent legal dispute were at an end" (COVENTRY TELEGRAPH, 6/11).

UP FOR SALE: The BBC wrote Coventry City "is the subject of bids from six potential buyers." It is not yet clear whether the offer would still apply if one of those bids is accepted by Administrator Paul Appleton, after Thursday's final deadline, "and the club subsequently comes out of administration" (BBC, 6/11). The COVENTRY TELEGRAPH also reported three parties have confirmed that "they have officially bid to buy Coventry City out of administration." Among them is what is believed to be an entity related to hedge fund Sisu, which owns Coventry City Football Club (Holdings) Limited, "the company still running the club and Warwickshire-based quantity surveyor Michael Byng." Speaking from Dubai, where he is meeting the Chinese financiers interested in buying the club, Ricoh Arena, and investing in the Coventry and Warwickshire region's rail network, he said, "An indicative bid was submitted before the administrator's deadline of Friday" (COVENTRY TELEGRAPH, 6/11).
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