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Coventry taken to court over outstanding rent

League One Coventry has been given 21 days to pay its outstanding rent, according to the Ricoh Arena's operators. Arena Coventry Limited (ACL) runs the stadium on behalf of owners Coventry City Council and the Alan Edwards Higgs Trust charity. ACL said the club owed £1.1m in rent arrears and could face a winding-up order if it did not settle its debts.

At £1.28m a year, the club said the rent was believed to be the highest in both League One and the Championship.

In a statement it said it was "disappointed" by ACL's decision to issue a statutory demand, rather than "negotiate a level of rent which the club can afford and which is in line with the rent paid by other clubs".

It said other clubs in the league paid on average less than £170,000 a year and, unlike Coventry City, often made revenue from match day parking as well as food and drink sales.

ACL said, despite negotiations over the past 10 months, no solution had been found and it was owed a total of £1.6m by the club. It said it was now taking action to protect its own "long-term financial commitments" and those of its employees and shareholders.

The operators added that the club had "consistently exceeded income" and had "no contingency plans" to guard against a lengthy absence from the Premier League.

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Dave Williams

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