League Championship club Coventry City has "threatened to pull out" of the Ricoh Arena altogether if a row with its landlords over unpaid rent is not settled, according to Neil Moxley of the London DAILY MAIL. The Sky Blues have been "issued with a statutory demand" to pay arrears by Arena Coventry Ltd. and "could be wound up on Boxing Day if no agreement is reached." A stand-off "has ensured between the two parties" over an annual £1.28M ($2.06M) levy, which Coventry City says it cannot afford. ACL claimed it is owed £1.6M ($2.6M) in total. Should the club fail to meet the deadline, it would have to declare itself "insolvent and face closure" (DAILY MAIL, 12/5). The COVENTRY TELEGRAPH reported the club said that it is "disappointed" and is "looking for a new home ground where it can afford to play, a moot point given it could be out of business shortly after Christmas." The ACL statement said: "The board feels that all other avenues to resolve this issue have been exhausted and is astonished that the club’s owners have allowed matters to come to this sorry pass." The Sky Blues said that "they need a stake in the stadium to help the loss-making club break even." Coventry City said in a statement: "While we have been seeking to normalise the rent, we have continued to pay matchday costs to ensure that ACL is not left out-of-pocket." ACL is adamant the stadium business is healthy, but has "refused to deny that Yorkshire Bank has sent in consultants to look at restructuring the firm" (COVENTRY TELEGRAPH, 12/5).
EPL West Ham United's impending move into London's Olympic Stadium "could mean ascent to football's super elite," according to Dave Hill of the London GUARDIAN. For London Mayor Boris Johnson it could "avert the threat of embarrassment in white elephant form." Whether it would represent "a true and lasting legacy for east London," as Hammers Vice Chair Karren Brady has claimed, "depends a lot on what you're looking for." The big-legacy picture that Games advocates have always drawn features "more than a thriving sports bowl in a handsome park." It "sketches an East End liberated from decades of struggle and neglect, from being the poor relation of London's rich centre and affluent west." That is "nice enough as targets go." If "convergence" is achieved because of an influx of healthier, wealthier people rather than by improvements of the lives of those already there, it "might not be a legacy to love" (GUARDIAN, 12/6).
MOVING ON UP: In London, Graeme Howlett wrote the prospect of moving to Olympic Stadium could "potentially allow this famous old club to rub shoulders with the giants of the English and European game." Yet that possibility is "anathema to some supporters who remain vehemently opposed to uprooting from the Boleyn Ground, our home for 107 years." A poll on the supporters' website KUMB.com conducted shortly after the London Games showed 64% in favor of moving. However, the previous poll conducted eight months earlier saw 61% of fans "vote against the move." Those against argue that the Boleyn Ground is "sufficient for a club of West Ham's stature." Yet, those in favor of moving argue that the "fantastic transport links mean fans from western Europe will only be a few hours away," and more seats "could mean cheaper tickets." Whatever form the move to Stratford will take, it will "certainly mean the end of homely West Ham United we know" (INDEPENDENT, 12/5).
Qatar Olympic Committee Secretary General Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al Thani said that the Al Sadd Stadium in Doha is set to become Qatar's "first solar-powered stadium," according to THE PENINSULA. The project "will be completed" by '14, a year before the World Handball Championship is hosted in Doha in '15. Sheikh Saoud said, "We plan to use solar power not only in the upcoming stadia, but also in the existing ones." It is believed that the arena will also "boast a grey and black water recycling plant" (THE PENINSULA, 12/5).
John Rhodes, associate principal at sports architecture firm Populous -- which was responsible for the recent redevelopment of Silverstone and the design of London’s main 2012 Olympic stadium -- said that "sustainability concerns have become a top priority in design decision-making," according to FIA's news magazine AUTO. Rhodes said, "Many of the big wins in sustainable design are not all that glamorous, or even evident to the casual user -- such as the designing of an integrated travel plan for event spectators. But they are effective and essential to any new development." Rhodes is keen to "develop more ways for motor sport circuits to improve their environmental credentials." He points to "the harnessing by new technologies of otherwise wasted energy, such as the huge footfall of spectators at major events. For example, building walkways with tiles that, when stepped on, collect kinetic energy. Such installations "could create the power to run lighting, signs, digital adverts and even entire Wi-Fi zones" (AUTO, Issue 1).
Minyuan Stadium in Tianjin, China was demolished on Tuesday. Also known as the Oriental Stamford, it previously served as the home field of Chinese Super League Tianjin Teda FC, as well as the venue for other football matches. The site will become "home to a new sports leisure park for citizens" (CHINA DAILY, 12/6). The 9,540-capacity Tbilisi Palace of Sports in Georgia will stage the '12-13 UEFA Futsal Cup finals in late April involving home club Iberia Star Tbilisi, title holders FC Barcelona, MFK Dinamo and Kairat Almaty. The decision was made at Thursday's UEFA Exec Committee meeting in Nyon, Switzerland. It will be the first UEFA final tournament to be held in Georgia since its independence (UEFA).