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Volume 6 No. 216


Ricoh Arena operators Arena Coventry Ltd. still want League One Coventry City "to play at the stadium," according to the BBC. ACL and the Sky Blues "have been embroiled in a year-long row over rent." The League One club has "agreed a groundshare at Northampton's Sixfields Stadium for the next three seasons." ACL Dir Peter Knatchbull-Hugessen said, "We have a plan B, but we've not moved into any sort of contracts because what we really want to see is the Sky Blues playing there." Despite threatening legal action over City's plans, Knatchbull-Hugessen insisted that "ACL would not struggle financially if the club were to leave the stadium for good." Knatchbull-Hugessen: "It will be tight [without Coventry City], and we have a year or so where we think again on how to use this resource for the people of Coventry" (BBC, 7/17). In Coventry, Simon Gilbert wrote Coventry University head of sport & tourism applied research Dr. John Beech has urged Coventry City Council, ACL and hedge fund Sisu to get together and thrash out a solution to keep the football club in the city -- "saying that all parties involved in the bitter dispute will suffer if a deal cannot be reached." Beech: "Clubs have made moves to new grounds in the past, but there is already a new ground in Coventry. It's madness and I can't see any sense in building a second new stadium" (COVENTRY TELEGRAPH, 7/17).

Madrid's Superior Justice Tribunal (TSJM) has ordered that the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) return the 115,000 square meter-surface area occupied by "Football City" to Madrid municipality Las Rozas, according to F. Javier Barroso of EL PAIS. This demand "ends a long judicial process" that could mean €45M ($59M) in revenue for Las Rozas. The RFEF acquired the site of "Football City" in '03, which includes the Spanish national team's facilities and a museum dedicated to La Roja. The TSJM order gives the RFEF 60 days to turn over the land, "with the organization subject to a fine" of €300 ($390) per day for every day following the 60-day period if the land is not returned to Las Rozas (EL PAIS, 7/17).

La Liga Athletic Bilbao has announced that the San Mames Barria stadium "could be complete ahead of time in order to host the first home match of the season after it had been understood that the club would be forced to compete in the Anoeta." Finishing the stadium in less than six weeks "will prove to be a very difficult task, but the plan is to have the San Mames Barria ready" for the first home game of the season in Week 2 against Osasuna (INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL, 7/17). ... South Africa’s Public Investment Corp., the continent’s biggest fund manager, said that "it wants company officials punished who allegedly colluded to set prices in the building of World Cup stadiums." Dan Matjila, the chief investment officer of PIC, which manages more than 1T rand ($101B) of mostly government workers’ pensions, said the company wants "serious penalties" for individuals at builders who received bonuses for activities that were allegedly unlawful (BLOOMBERG, 7/17).