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Coventry City Ricoh Arena ownership deal 'agreed'

image captionCoventry City Football Club has been a tenant at the Ricoh Arena since 2005

A deal to sell a share of the Ricoh Arena to Coventry City Football Club's owners SISU has been agreed, a senior Coventry councillor has said.

The stadium is currently run by Arena Coventry Limited (ACL) on behalf of its owners, the city council and the Alan Edwards Higgs Trust charity.

Leader of the opposition, Councillor Kevin Foster, says he believes the club will buy the charity's 50% share.

None of the interested parties have confirmed if the sale is to go ahead.

Mr Foster said media reports that a deal between the club and the Higgs Trust had been reached were true.

'Develop the club'

He said: "Some of the information that's been in the press today is information that I've had under confidence over the last couple of weeks.

"It does make sense for the club to have a stake in the arena.

"We will want to see... that they want to buy this as an asset for the football club and to develop a strong club off the back of it."

The charity declined to comment on Mr Foster's claim, while the Labour-led authority released a statement which said it remained in "confidential discussions which are extremely complex and sensitive".

It added: "We are committed to acting in the very best interests of Coventry in finding a sustainable way forward for the Ricoh Arena.

"Any major decisions made will ultimately be debated through the council's democratic process."

High Court

Last month the football club was given more time to repay in excess of £600,000 in rent and other bills owed to ACL.

The club was taken to the High Court in Birmingham after stopping payments of £100,000 a month in rent in April.

Speaking about negotiations over the stadium's ownership, the chief executive of the Sky Blues, Tim Fisher, said: "We have made an undertaking not to discuss this matter publicly.

"It is a highly sensitive commercial negotiation which all sides have undertaken to conclude before speaking to other parties."

The stadium has been home to Coventry City since 2005, but following relegation from the Championship earlier this year, the club said it had suffered an expected drop in revenues.

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