English Championship football club Coventry City has signed a new licence agreement with Frasers Group to continue playing home games at the Coventry Building Society Arena until May 2023.
Frasers Group, a British retail company owned by former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, issued Coventry with an eviction notice earlier this month, claiming that the club has no right to use the venue.
Frasers Group secured ownership of the CBS Arena on November 17 after the stadium’s operating companies – Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), Arena Coventry (2006) Limited and IEC Experience Limited – applied to be placed into administration.
After the deal was signed, a spokesperson for Frasers Group said that it was particularly looking forward to working with Coventry. After the eviction notice was handed out, Coventry expressed “surprise” at Frasers Group’s intentions.
The club’s pre-existing long-term licence to play at the stadium was agreed in March 2021 and had been due to run until 2031, but Frasers Group presented a new agreement to the club, with new commercial terms, which Coventry stated had been proposed “without any dialogue or negotiations”.
Coventry has now confirmed that a new agreement has been signed with Frasers Group that secures the club’s short-term future at the stadium, until the end of the 2022-23 season.
Coventry said the development represents a “positive step forward” for the club and its fans, adding that it is looking forward to establishing a constructive working relationship with Frasers Group. The licence is subject to approval from the English Football League (EFL), which is expected to be granted today (Tuesday).
The new deal has been struck ahead of Coventry’s home match against Swansea City on Saturday. The club will now commence “amicable” talks with Frasers Group with a view to agreeing a longer-term licence to continue playing at the stadium.
The sale of the stadium was completed a day after Coventry owners SISU Capital Ltd agreed to sell a majority stake in the club to local businessman Doug King. Coventry then submitted a £25m (€29.1m/$30.7m) bid to acquire the stadium but a court ruled that this had come too late, with Frasers Group’s bid, worth a reported £17m, ultimately accepted.