ACL administration suggestions dismissed

Fri, 30 Nov 2012

Suggestions that the company behind Coventry FC's Ricoh Arena could be heading towards administration have been dubbed “bizarre speculation”.

Arena Coventry Ltd (ACL) has been the subject of speculation over the state of its finances recently. The club's chief executive, Tim Fisher, lead the debate following an increasingly scathing fall-out between the football club and the ground's owner. He brought things to a head when he speculated that ACL could be heading for administration.

A report by the Coventry Telegraph confirmed that ACL's main creditor, Yorkshire Bank, has called in accountants from Deloitte to help ACL restructure its debts due to concerns over the repayment of its £21 million mortgage but there has been no suggestion from within the business that an administration is on the cards.

However, Mr Fisher claimed that ACL would be forced into administration when Deloitte discovered that no restructuring deal would be possible.

The dispute began when Mr Fisher alleged that Coventry FC did not owe ACL £1 million in rent, stating that its “high debts” were due to other financial problems.

ACL has since issued a statement in response to Mr Fisher's claims, assuring creditors that the business is working through its financial issues: “The ACL board met yesterday and it discussed the current non-payment of rent and the need for a solid plan from Coventry City Football Club and its owners, the Mayfair-based hedge fund Sisu.

“The situation remains that as of December 1 more than £1 million in outstanding rent will be owed. As we have stated, we have been patiently discussing this issue for nine months but when rent began to be withheld, ACL began to charge matchday costs to cover staffing and overheads for each match.”

The situation in Coventry is not unique and there are in fact a number of football clubs and associated businesses struggling to keep up with the times, with clubs in Scotland faring particularly badly.

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