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Sisu lose state aid case

Coventry City's owners, Sisu, have lost their judicial review case which claimed that the City Council's loan to the Ricoh Arena constituted illegal state aid under European Union rules.   Sisu have stated that they will seek leave to appeal.

The City Council's case was that once Sisu ceased to make its rent payments it had to make a loan to Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), the operators of the Ricoh, to protect its investment.   It argued that the judicial review formed part of a campaign to 'distress' ACL and acquire control of the Ricoh for Sisu.

Salisbury City demoted

Salisbury City have been demoted to the Conference South after they only cleared £75,000 of their £150,00 debts and failed to provide a required bond of £50,000.

However, the club claims that the real issue is the ownership of the club by mystery businessman Otail Touzar.   They are appealing against the Conference decision and seeking legal advice on taking out an injunction against the league.

Sky Blues court case starts today

A three day judicial review case between Sisu, the owners of Coventry City, and Coventry City Council starts in Birmingham today.   Sisu claim that the Council has breached state aid rules in relation to the Ricoh Arena.   For fans much of the interest will be in the evidence that comes out in open court.

Reprieve for Hereford United

It looks like another eleventh hour reprieve for a football club with the winding up petition against the club brought by a former manager suspended by the High Court for 28 days yesterday.   This is to give the club time to sort out its options.

The club has been taken over by a London businessman Terry Agombar.   However, the Football Conference is insisting that all debts to football creditors have to be dealt with by their annual general meeting on Friday.

Rovers challenge relegation

Bristol Rovers claim that Wycombe Wanderers have breached Football Association rules on third party ownership, thereby gaining an unfair competitive advantage and are consulting sports lawyers.

It is difficult to see this particular complaint going very far, but one can expect more legal challenges to promotion and relegation as sports lawyers hone their skills.

Former Leeds MD arrested

The former Leeds United managing director David Haigh has been arrested in Dubai and has spent the last four nights in jail.  He was detained while visiting the offices of Gulf Finance House (GFH), the former owners of the club.

He had flown to Dubai after the offer of a new job by GFH.   The club's former owners have accused him of financial irregularities which he strenuously denies.

Legal challenge to 3pm blackout

The televising of games at 3pm on Saturdays has been banned on the grounds that it would hit lower league attendances.   However, a report pubished by the EU has questioned whether the restriction can be legally upheld, given that it is also imposed on other European broadcasters.

A report from the Asser International Sports Law Centre in the Netherlands says that the blackout 'sits at odds with the European Commission's aspirations to promote cross-border access to audiovisual content.'

Lawyers brought into relegation fight

Sunderland looked as if they had pulled off 'the great escape' with their victory over Manchester United yesterday, but now they face a legal challenge that could put them back in the relegation zone. 

Cellino would be banned under new government rules

Exasperation with the ineffectiveness of the Football League's test for directors of football clubs is one factor has led Business Secretary Vince Cable to formulate new rules to ban 'dodgy directors'.   Those who have committed purely commercial offences would be banned under the new rules.

Leeds decision deferred

Massimo Cellino''s appeal against his disqualification as a prospective owner of Leeds United was heard in London yesterday, but the independent QC in charge of the appeal has reserved judgment while he considers the arguments put forward.   This at least implies that he thought Cellino had a case worthy of further consideration.