Coventry’s owner urges council to support plans for new stadium

Coventry’s owner has urged the local council to support their plans to build a new stadium.

SISU Capital Ltd, which has owned the Sky Blues since 2007, said it will drop its long-running legal case against Coventry City Council in return for their help to relocate to a purpose-built new home.

Investment management company SISU also wants the owners of the Ricoh Arena, Premiership rugby club Wasps, to allow the Sky Blues to stay at the stadium until a new one is built.

Coventry’s rent deal with Wasps expires in the summer and the English Football League has given the football club a deadline of April 2 to confirm where they will play next season.

“SISU would much rather not have to continue with its legal challenge of the council’s decision,” read a club statement.

“Any agreement to drop the litigation, however, would have to contain terms for: a stadium development supported by the council in Coventry with enabling development on reasonable terms, and a medium-term interim arrangement with Wasps on commercially acceptable terms to stay at the Ricoh Arena until CCFC’s own stadium is complete.

“So far, neither of these things have materialised which means that SISU has no option but to continue with its (legal) challenge.”

Wasps completed the full purchase of the Ricoh Arena in 2014 when they bought Coventry City Council’s 50 per cent stake in the stadium and later acquired the remaining shares from the Alan Edward Higgs Charity.

SISU has always contested the sale and launched fresh legal proceedings in early 2017 after the council’s decision to sell to Wasps was upheld by a judicial review in 2014 and 2016.

“Since the council’s decision to sell the Ricoh to Wasps at what we believe to be a gross and unlawful undervalue, we have been determined either to overturn that decision by legal challenge (this is the only way back to the Ricoh on any sort of sustainable basis) or to build a new stadium,” SISU added.

Coventry admitted their stadium impasse raised “significant doubt” over their future when their accounts for the year to May 2018 were released earlier this month.

The Sky Blues revealed they were at risk of expulsion from the Football League if no agreement is reached before an EFL Extraordinary General Meeting on April 25.