League One side Coventry City's battle with their stadium owners has been reignited today, after a statement was issued telling the Sky Blues owners to "pay up or sell up and get out of Coventry." The ongoing row is a continuation of problems that Coventry have with rental payments on the Ricoh Arena, which have been escalating due to non-payment.
Back in December 2012, stadium owners Arena Coventry Limited (ACL) issued a 21 day demand for payment of the £1.1 million arrears. Their statement today says that the debts have now risen to £1.347 million, with two more months having gone past and Coventry not having attempted to make those months payments or address the arrears.
Both ACL and Coventry City's owners SISU have been in talks to try to renegotiate the current stadium lease agreement, but ACL indicate that talks have broken down, accusing SISU of doing a u-turn on a verbal agreement both parties had reached on January 29th. Provisional plans were in place to lower their stadium rent to £400,000 - around a third of it's current level - and to give Coventry payment terms to clear the backlog. ACL have now suspended talks and have told Coventry's SISU to either come back to the table and accept the negotiated offer, or to look at selling the club
"Thereís simply no point in continuing these discussions while the Club, under Sisuís ownership, continues to behave in this manner. If the Club Directors canít or wonít follow through on the Agreement they participated in creating, then we suggest to them that the time has come to consider offering ownership of CCFC to an outside buyer better placed to run the Clubís financial operations. Make no mistake, now is the time for Sisu to pay up or sell up and get out of Coventry."
Coventry have meanwhile named Lee Carsley as their Caretaker Manager, following today's departure of Mark Robins to Huddersfield Town. Carsley was in a similar position earlier this season, assisting Richard Shaw as caretaker just before Robins arrived at the club.
The Coventry Telegraph have also provided much speculation by listing out a large number of names they are connecting with the vacancy at the Ricoh Arena. They name Steven Pressley, Phil Brown, Derek McInnes, Eric Black, Gary Megson, Andy Morrell, Micky Mellon, Nick Barmby, Nigel Adkins, Paul Ince, Simon Grayson and Steve Kean as names the bookies are giving odds for. They also provide a website vote for fans to pick who they'd like as manager, allowing them to choose from Paul Ince, Gary McAllister, Eric Black, Gary Megson, Steve Cotterill, Nick Barmby, Phil Brown, Greg Abbott, Dennis Wise or Paul Dickov.
One name they don't mention at all is Yeovil Town boss Gary Johnson. The Western Gazette have today stated that Gary is "a speculative candidate" for the position, however in the same article quote Johnson as saying "there definitely hasn't been any link." Given Johnson put seven points between the Glovers and the Sky Blues on Tuesday night, and with a game in hand, it would be hard to believe that he'd want to jump ship between now and the end of the season.
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