Coventry play down fears over liquidation
Coventry managing director Tim Fisher has issued a stark promise that the club will not go into liquidation.
Arena Coventry Limited, who manage the Ricoh Arena on behalf of joint owners the Alan Edward Higgs Charity and Coventry City Council, on Wednesday issued a statutory demand for £1.1million in unpaid rent by the npower League One club stretching back 10 months. They have 21 days to pay the sum or potentially face a winding-up order.
But speaking to Press Association Sport on Thursday afternoon, Fisher said: "My message to supporters is there is no liquidation scenario."
Coventry responded on Wednesday with an official statement claiming their annual rate of £1.28m is the highest in both League One and the Championship by some considerable distance, while also bemoaning the fact they do not get access to 100 per cent of matchday revenue.
Fisher was coy over how much money, if any, will be paid by Boxing Day and said negotiations will continue to have to play a part over the next three weeks. But the City chief is adamant Coventry, FA Cup winners in 1987, will not go to the wall and says they will play elsewhere before that happens.
"I'll tell you one thing, the club comes first, we are committed to fulfil our fixtures," Fisher said. "This isn't about liquidation, this isn't about the club going out of existence, we need to be absolutely crystal about that.
"This is about the club setting up a sustainable business model. We will fulfil our fixtures and, by the way, we have contingencies because we are managing our risks, you have to plan. So if the Ricoh shut the doors, we will play elsewhere. If forced into a corner that's exactly what we'll do."
ACL on Thursday issued another statement insisting a statutory demand is not the action they wished to take. In the statement, ACL interim chief executive Jacky Isaac added: "At the weekend we offered them (Coventry FC) what we genuinely believe to be an excellent deal on the rent - the kind of deal that we simply wouldn't offer any other tenant.
"But Sisu (CCFC owners) has still turned down the offer. It is important the people of Coventry know that ACL has bent over backwards to be supportive on this. What happens now is up to Sisu. They have 21 days to pay the outstanding rent and come to an agreement with us."
In response to that statement, Fisher's reply was firm. "If we were a Premier League club it would be a great deal, we are not a Premier League club, we are a League One club," he said.
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