Home Editor's Picks Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group serve stadium eviction notice to Coventry City football Club

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group serve stadium eviction notice to Coventry City football Club

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Coventry City have been issued with an eviction notice by the new owners of the Coventry Building Society Arena.

Former Newcastle owner Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group took over the stadium last month after buying its three former operating companies.

They say the Championship club has no continuing right to use the ground.

Club officials were informed on Friday they must return keys and access cards and an FA Youth Cup game on Saturday was switched to Leamington Town FC.

Frasers do not believe they are bound by the previous licence agreement with the stadium’s former owners, Wasps rugby club, who went into administration on 18 October.

Coventry are away to Reading when their Championship campaign resumes on Saturday and their next scheduled home fixture is against Swansea on 17 December.

Frasers have said, however, that they will be given a reasonable amount of time to remove goods and property from the stadium.

The Sky Blues moved to the then Ricoh Arena from their former Highfield Road home in 2005.

But a dispute with their landlords saw them decamp to Northampton Town’s Sixfields ground for home games in 2013-14.

Wasps bought Coventry City Council’s 50% stake in the stadium in October 2014 and the following month acquired the remaining shareholding from the Alan Edward Higgs Charity, with the Sky Blues returning as tenants.

But rent issues saw Coventry move to Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s stadium in 2019, spending two seasons there and winning promotion from League One in the process.

They finally returned home for the start of the 2021-22 season but there were further problems at the start of the current campaign because of the state of the pitch after it was used for rugby sevens matches during the Commonwealth Games.

Following the demise of Wasps, the CBS Arena’s operating companies, Arena Coventry Ltd (ACL), Arena Coventry (2006) Ltd and IEC Experience Ltd, also went into administration, enabling Frasers Group to buy them for £17m.

A judge rejected a £25m bid for the stadium from businessman Doug King, saying it had come too late, but he is going ahead with a plan to buy an 85% controlling stake in the club from current owners Sisu, subject to approval by the English Football League.

But even that is not straightforward, with the sale being challenged by rival bidder William Storey, who says the deal breaches an exclusivity agreement he had with Sisu, although they insist his claim is “untrue and unhelpful”.

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