Court of Appeal grants permission for challenge to sale by council of sports ground

The owner of Coventry City Football Club has been given permission by the Court of Appeal to challenge a High Court ruling that it cannot judicially review Coventry City Council’s sale of the club’s ground to Wasps Rugby Club.

Hedge fund Sisu, which owns the club, has argued that the sale involved unlawful state aid tor Wasps.

Coventry’s Labour leader George Duggins and Conservative opposition leader Gary Ridley said in a joint statement: “We are naturally disappointed that the Court of Appeal has granted permission to appeal the decision made on 14 July 2017.

“However, we remain confident that we have a robust defence to all the claims, and that the decisions the council took on 7 October 2014 were entirely lawful.

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“Until the next hearing, we do not intend to make any further comment on the case.”

Last July, the High Court refused Sisu permission to seek judicial review of the sale to Wasps of the Ricoh Arena.

The Supreme Court last December refused Sisu permission to appeal a ruling that a loan made by the council to the Ricoh Arena was not unlawful state aid.

A long and complex series of disputes involving the council, stadium managers, Wasps and Sisu has also seen an earlier judicial review in 2014 of the council’s sale of its shares in the ground to Wasps’s owner.

Sisu did not respond to a request for comment.

Mark Smulian

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