The questions which Coventry City Councillor Kevin Foster has tabled for meeting on Tuesday about talks between the Ricoh Arena, which was built using public money and Coventry City have been moved to a private part of the meeting.
According to the CT's Les Reid this morning, Councillor Foster said: “This clumsy attempt at a cover-up means that even before kick-off the leadership of the council has scored a spectacular own goal.”
He added: “Over recent months, Coun Mutton has made statements about the on-going situation in public, but now wants to hide behind closed doors.
“I accept a detailed financial breakdown of any proposals being made or a running commentary on sensitive negotiations cannot be provided in public session.
“Yet it is impossible to see the justification for no response being given, other than avoiding potential political embarrassment for the leader.”
In response, Council Leader John Mutton said to the CT's Les Reid: “Careless talks could cost us our football club”.
"Any variation of existing agreements between ACL and the club, or the council and the football club, will have to come back to full council to be debated and voted on.
“Negotiations are ongoing. The main discussions are between Sisu and the Higgs charity. There are other discussions to do with ACL rent.
“There are no discussions at all about ownership between the council and Sisu about its 50 per cent share. There have been discussions between Sisu and the Higgs charity.
“Things I believe in the not too distant future will reach a head one way or another.
“Correct decisions have to be taken, which can only be taken on the back of knowledge.”
Clr Mutton, said that he wanted to provide a brief written public response to Councillor Foster’s questions and said 'they made clear he had played no role in discussions with ACL, Sisu or the club about rent levels; that he had not set any financial threshold that ACL must seek to return to the council; and there had been no discussions about Sisu acquiring the council’s shares in ACL.' and said that claims he was “hiding behind closed doors” were “outrageous”.
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