Coventry City Council Votes To Bail Out Ricoh Arena With $22M Loan
The Coventry City Council in England has "voted to bail out the company that runs the city's Ricoh Arena" with a £14M ($22.4M) loan, according to the BBC. Arena Coventry Ltd. runs the stadium on behalf of the council and the Alan Edwards Higgs Trust charity. Coventry City FC "has been in a long-running dispute with ACL over unpaid rent," which last month stood at £1.1M ($1.8M). The City Council Councillor John Mutton said: "We have taken a decision that will benefit city taxpayers and secure the future of one of our most important and best loved public assets that brings great benefits to Coventry people" (BBC, 1/15). INSIDER reported the move means "the council is effectively becoming banker to ACL, so it can pay off its current loan arrangements with its existing bank." There is "no net cost to the council or Coventry taxpayers, with the move set to provide a modest surplus for the local authority" (INSIDER, 1/16). In Coventry, Les Reid reported Coventry City FC responded to the council's unexpected rescue deal. In a written statement, the Sky Blues and hedge fund owners Sisu indicated that they are "willing to negotiate a deal on rent to the stadium company" -- after withholding £1.1M rent, which prompted Tuesday's Coventry City Council bailout. The statement read: "We have always sought to get round the table and agree a fair rent and look forward to negotiating with ACL to achieve a satisfactory outcome for all parties" (COVENTRY TELEGRAPH, 1/16).