Council Willing To Discuss Ricoh Rent Reduction
The view of John Mutton
Coventry City Council have said that in principle, they could consider dropping the rent Coventry City pay to use the Ricoh Arena.
City's owners Sisu have not paid the rent for four months in an attempt to get the £100k a month rent agreed by Paul Fletcher during his time at the club lowered following the club's relegation to League One.
Coventry City Council leader John Mutton has said that although SISU were a long way off satisfying the Council that they had a viable way to run and finance the club, talks were still on-going.
Speaking to the CT, Cllr Mutton said: "Lowering the rent is something we would consider if all the other pieces of the jigsaw fall into place. Sisu has got to show us a proper business case for the club.
"They are miles away from it yet, because we haven't seen any form of business case.
"We've only seen three options - get rid of everything, get rid of half the players and backroom staff, or get rid of nothing. It's not just about cutting wages. They've got to increase income.
"If we were to drop the rental payment by £500,000 that would cover only one month's losses at the football club. It is losing £500,000 a month, plus another £3.7million from the Football League and TV rights due to relegation.
"A prerequisite for me has to be balancing the books. If we had knocked £0.5million last year off rent, ACL would have had a loss, when ACL profits were around £450,000.
"ACL's profits are expected to be around £1.1million this year. If that's sustainable profit, we have some flexibility in lowering the rent.
"But we are not going to lower the rent to chuck it into a black hole and let the losses keep building up at the football club, with sooner or later the football club going into administration."
"If they go back to the Championship we would expect them to pay a rent of £1.2million under the contractual agreement.
"And if there was a miracle and they were back in the Premiership, we would want to re-negotiate a rent upwards, in the same way we are prepared to look at the situation of renegotiating rent downwards now they're in Division One."
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