Peter Knatchbull-Hugessen, Chairman Of the Alan Higgs Trust has said that that the pain caused by the Academy being ousted from the Alan Higgs Centre cannot be measured.
Speaking to the Coventry Telegraph, PKH said: “We’ve done ten years as an Academy and now it’s going to be a different life for the building.
“My sadness is the same as every fan has. The pain that is caused by all of this really can’t be measured. It’s individual people hurting because the club that they love is in such a state.
“Ten years ago the club had no money and was about to lose it’s Academy status so we had to get it up quickly.
“There was no way any charity was going to give a commercial club money to go and build an academy, so what we did was built a community sports and leisure centre that also had the Academy in it, which was a cost effective way of doing it.
“They got the grass pitches for nothing but they had to maintain them and they used our equipment to do that. These mowers are very expensive bits of kit and the capital cost of the equipment there was £100,000.
“They paid rent for the offices and the all weather pitches they paid a discounted rate because they paid quarterly in advance.
“It couldn’t have been better for them. There’s no capital recovery, no fee for use of pitches and it would have cost them more if they owned it.
“They wouldn’t pay for pitch renovation so they consume and use and don’t pay, and as a charity, which is what The Higgs is, that can’t go on. I don’t understand; presumably they know what they are doing.”
The Trust have always maintained their original agreement of use was with CCFC Ltd, the company currently in administration, and insisted that City were in breach of that agreement when they said the Academy came under the remit of CCFC Holdings
“We had an agreement with Ltd and not Holdings and they breached that by suddenly saying it’s Holdings you are dealing with,” said Knatchbull-Hugessen who explained that affected the Centre’s insurance cover for players using the facilities.
“People coming out of the Academy all have potential to be professional players and any injuries or accidents sustained by them could be quite serious in terms of cost of compensation, therefore it was absolutely vital we had the proper insurance.
“Therefore to ensure the insurance was valid we made sure that the same company we had the agreement with employed the people and would insure the people, otherwise we would be open to all sorts of liability. But we found that actually, without telling us, they had changed all that. One of the things we would have had to do was get it all back and regularise it.”
He added: “The equipment that they used was ours and they were meant to maintain it but they had done no maintenance for two years so the machinery was just collapsing. The sticking point, though, was when they said ‘well it’s Ltd that owe you that money.”
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Source: Coventry MAD