Sky Blues given Boxing Day deadline
Coventry have been given 21 days to pay their unpaid rent or face the threat of a winding-up order.
Ricoh Arena bosses are owed £1.6million in total from the club - £1.1 million in rent after the Sky Blues stopped making their payments 10 months ago. Should the club fail to meet the Boxing Day deadline, they would have to declare themselves insolvent and face closure.
A full statement from Arena Coventry Limited, the stadium owners, read: "Following the refusal of Coventry City Football Club and its owners, Sisu, to pay outstanding rent to Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), the ACL Board has today issued a statutory demand to Coventry City Football Club (CCFC)."
The statement continued: "The statutory demand covers the £1.1million owed by CCFC to ACL in rent arrears of a total £1.6million owed by the club. This is not a course of action the ACL Board wanted to take. However, the behaviour of Sisu, the owners of CCFC, has left the board with no choice but to issue the statutory demand."
The Sky Blues later released a statement claiming to pay more rent than anyone in npower League One or the Championship, adding they will seek to start negotiations with ACL to achieve "commercial normality".
"We are disappointed by ACL's actions to issue a statutory demand to Coventry City Football Club rather than, as we had requested, sitting down with us to negotiate a level of rent which the club can afford and which is in line with the rent paid by other clubs," the statement read. "For reference, ACL has been charging CCFC an annual rent of £1.28 million, which we understand is the highest in both League One and the Championship.
"We understand that the average annual rent paid by League One clubs (excluding CCFC) is less than £170,000 and that the average in the Championship is less than £290,000. All other clubs which rent their stadia get full access to 100 per cent of match day food, beverage and car parking revenues, unlike CCFC.
"The club's objective in requesting these negotiations with ACL has been only to bring about a state of commercial normality, where CCFC pays the same level of rent and has access to the same type of ancillary revenues as the other football clubs with which it competes.
"It is unsustainable for CCFC to be put at a severe financial disadvantage to its peers. While we have been seeking to normalise the rent, we have continued to pay match-day costs to ensure that ACL is not left out-of-pocket. These costs amount to over £250,000 per season, much more than the average rent paid by League One clubs.
"In addition to defraying ACL's match-day costs, the club has been subsidising ACL's general overheads ever since the Sky Blues started playing at the Ricoh Arena, amounting to many millions of pounds over seven years."
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