Coventry City has reaffirmed its intention to continue playing at the Ricoh Arena after acknowledging the judgement given in the Court of Appeal relating to the case involving its owners, Sisu, along with Wasps Rugby Club and Coventry City Council.
The Court of Appeal has rejected a call by Sisu for a judicial review into the sale of the stadium. The BBC notes that Sisu had claimed that the council undervalued the 32,000-seat stadium by £27m when selling it to Wasps back in 2014.
Sisu’s request, however, has been turned down, a decision City said it “acknowledges”. The club added that the decision does not alter its desire to continue playing at the Ricoh Arena.
City’s deal to play at the stadium expires at the end of the 2018-19 season and the club last month wrote to Wasps to request talks over an extension of the agreement. Coventry, which plays in the third-tier League One, stated that the club’s place in the English Football League would be at risk without agreement of a stadium for next season, adding that the Ricoh Arena is “currently the only suitable option”.
The club spent the 2013-14 season at Sixfields Stadium in Northampton, some 34 miles from Coventry, after Sisu, a London-based hedge fund, was unable to strike a new lease to play at the Ricoh Arena. The club did return home in September 2014 but Sisu’s running of the club has attracted opposition among fans over the years.
In a statement responding to the Court of Appeal’s decision to turn down Sisu’s request, Coventry City Council said: “We are delighted with today’s judgement which once again justifies why we have robustly defended all claims brought by Sisu-related companies over recent years.
“Sisu has continually sought to re-open decisions taken by the council more than four years ago. We have always remained steadfast in our belief that those decisions were appropriate, lawful and in the best interests of Coventry tax payers.
“We hope that this will be the last stage of the litigation and that Sisu will accept this as the end of all legal action so that further unnecessary costs are avoided for all parties involved.”
Coventry’s statement added: “As has been stated previously, the football club and its staff continue to fully focus on the day-to-day running of the club, and we have no direct involvement in the court case.
“The club can also confirm again that we are not liable for any costs in relation to this court case, and that all costs are incurred by the club’s owners.”
Coventry has played at the Ricoh Arena since the 2005-06 season.