Could Coventry be shut out of Ricoh?
Whilst no statement to this effect has been issued, reports are circulating in Coventry that the stadium management company at the Ricoh are contemplating shutting Coventry City FC out of the ground for their first home game of the season against Sheffield United tomorrow night.
The exercise of this nuclear option would be very serious. The Sky Blues would then be unable to fulfill their fixtures and the usual consequence of that is expulsion from the Football League, although the league would not want to lose a club. Given that a court ruling gave Coventry City more time to pay, such an action might not be viewed favourably from a legal perspective even though the club is clearly in breach of its tenancy agreement.
To me this looks like the latest act of brinkmanship in a long drawn out negotiating process. Apparently, further talks are set for tomorrow morning and hopefully both parties will step back from the brink and come to a mutually accepted compromise.
Without a football tenant, the Ricoh would lose much of its purpose. However, the stadium management has become exasperated by the length of the discussions. They still have to meet the capital and running costs of the stadium.
For their part Coventry City FC claim that they cannot afford to pay £100,000 a month in rent when they are in League 1, although they spend far more on player wages. An acceptable compromise might be for the rent owed from April to be paid and for a reduced rent to be agreed from now on.