Arena Coventry Limited, the managers of the Ricoh Arena have today stated that Coventry City Ltd. can use the Ricoh Arena ‘rent free’ for the 2013/2014 season if they are still in administration.
City, who are currently in administration, have been in a rent dispute with their stadium landlords, Arena Coventry Ltd (ACL), for more than a year.
ACL this morning released a statement via the Coventry Telegraph which read: “The directors of Arena Coventry Limited have been deeply concerned with how the emotions of Coventry City Football Club supporters have been tested over recent months and more especially the past few weeks.
“These concerns were discussed in great detail at an ACL Board Meeting on 7 June 2013, and we have today notified the Football League and the joint administrators of a proposed solution for the coming season.
“To enable the football club to fulfil its commitments under Football League regulations, and to provide stability whilst Coventry City Football Club Limited, which owns the League Share, remains in administration, ACL has agreed to allow the club to play its homes games free of any rental fee, therefore removing any need for the supporters to travel outside the city to watch home games.
“All charges incurred on match day as a consequence of staging a football match, will be passed through at cost, for example, stewarding, policing, utilities, frost protection, match day repairs to stadium, health safety and compliance management and certification, service charges for maintenance contracts e.g. flood lights, generators etc.
“Whilst these sums may vary depending on attendances, it should be noted that policing, stewarding and pitch maintenance have historically been directly managed and paid for by the club.
“ACL also acknowledges that service related charges can be verified if necessary by an independent external party.
“Given ACL wishes to ensure it provides the best playing surface possible for all football league matches, it will now take direct responsibility for future management and maintenance of the pitch.
“The directors of ACL hope the supporters of Coventry City Football Club, the joint administrators and the Football League, will view this as a positive and productive move, and should assist in dispelling the uncertainty and upset of the past weeks.”
It is yet unclear whether SISU, the hedge-fund which runs Coventry City Holdings, will respond to the statement.
Cheif Executive, Tim Fisher has previously stated that there was no chance of the club playing at the Ricoh Arena next season, and that they would have to build their own stadium as ACL had made it clear negotiations over a rent legal dispute were at an end.
ACL – jointly owned by Coventry City Council and Arena Coventry Limited – has repeatedly said in recent weeks “its doors are wide open”.
But it has indicated it is only prepared to speak through the administrator, not directly to Holdings.