Coventry City Council has been informed that it is to be taken to a second judicial review regarding its involvement with the Ricoh Arena, the home of Coventry City Football Club and Wasps RFC.
Sky Blue Sports & Leisure Limited, Arvo Master Fund Limited, & Otium Entertainment Group Limited, the owners of and investors in Coventry City Football Club, have informed the council that they intend to apply for a judicial review relating to the sale of the Council’s shares in ACL [Arena Coventry Limited, the operating company of the stadium] to rugby club Wasps in 2014 and a lease extension at the Ricoh Arena to the same club.
In a statement to Local Government Lawyer, Coventry City Council said: “We can confirm that following the conclusion of the Judicial Review last December in the Council’s favour, the Council has now received notification that Sky Blue Sports & Leisure Limited, Arvo Master Fund Limited, & Otium Entertainment Group Limited intend to pursue their second Judicial Review claim relating to the sale of the Council’s shares in ACL [Arena Coventry Limited, the operating company of the stadium] and the lease extension on the Ricoh Arena to [rugby club] Wasps.”
In May 2016 the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court decision on the first judicial review of the council. That judicial review - brought by the same organisations bringing the second one - had considered whether the Council had given illegal state aid in relation to the stadium.
The Council had been the joint owner and developer of the stadium (which opened in 2005) with the Higgs Charity and had made a loan to its co-owner at a time when the stadium’s future was uncertain due to a rent dispute with the football club. The Court of Appeal found in the Council’s favour. In December 2016 the Supreme Court refused permission for an appeal on the Court of Appeal’s decision.