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Ricoh Arena ownership decision to be discussed today

Plans for London rugby club Wasps to re-locate to Coventry in a deal that would see them buying the Ricoh Arena will be discussed by Coventry City Council later.

The Ricoh Arena Credit: Tim Parker/EMPICS Sport/PA

The decision could put Coventry City Football Club's bid to return there in jeopardy.

The Leader of the Council has made it clear to officers throughout negotiations that any deal that would change ownership of ACL must provide good financial value and return for Coventry taxpayers and support Coventry City Football Club and Coventry Rugby Club achieve a stable and sustainable future. The commercial and financial details of proposals to be debated by councillors need to remain on the private agenda of Full Council, where the final vote and decision will be made, as is always the case when matters of commercial confidentiality are discussed. However councillors will debate the issue in public, excluding details that need to remain commercially confidential, and more information about the transaction will be made available as soon as possible."

– Coventry City Council statement

SISU not interfering with London Wasps' plan to buy Ricoh

The Ricoh Arena Credit: Tim Parker/EMPICS Sport/PA

The boss of Coventry City's owners SISU has been quoted as saying she will not interfere with rugby club London Wasps' plan to buy the Ricoh Arena.

Coventry City Council, which owns half of the firm that runs the stadium, is expected to vote next week on whether a £30 million pound deal should go ahead.

Supporters group 'Get Cov Back to the Ricoh' claim Joy Seppala has indicated the club is instead pushing ahead with plans to build a new ground in the Coventry area.


Fans scramble for precious CCFC Ricoh tickets

The queue outside the Ricoh Superstore as fans queue for tickets to CCFC's first home game in more than a year Credit: Andy Harris

Hundreds of fans are scrambling to get tickets to Coventry City's match against Gillingham next week.

The club has been playing its home games at Northampton for over a year, and fans are desperate to be present for the Sky Blues' long-awaited homecoming.

People have been queueing to buy tickets since 3am this morning, and the line is stretching back from the kiosk through the car park.

Meanwhile, those fans who have opted to purchase tickets online are facing long delays as the website struggles to cope with demand.

The football club say the site is still functioning, but that fans will have to be patient. They are also answering as many phone calls as possible.

Ricoh Arena to host UK's first streaking competition

UK's first streaker competition to be held at Ricoh Arena Credit: Dave Howarth/EMPICS Sport

Coventry's Ricoh Arena is to host the UK's first streaking competition.

The event will be held in honour of Lady Godiva and her legendary naked ride through the city on May 31.

Entrants will be encouraged to show off their singing and dancing in front of a panel of judges including TOWIE's Tom Pearce.

Winners of the competition will win tickets to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil during the 2014 World Cup.

Organisers say participants do not have to bear all and will be able to protect their modesty.

Angela Perkins, head of sales at the Ricoh Arena, said:

Coventry is famous throughout the world for Lady Godiva riding naked through the streets of the city which makes the Ricoh Arena the perfect place to host the UK’s first National Streaker competition.

This is perfect for those with a sense of adventure who can sing or dance and would love to dance to the beat of the samba in Brazil.

Coventry City fans' calls to vote out councillors

Coventry City fans will protest outside the council house today Credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

Coventry City fans plan to hold a major demonstration outside the city's Council House to call for a return to the Ricoh Arena on May 10th.

The 'Vote them Out' urges fans to use the forthcoming elections to vote for candidates who say they will help bring the club home.

The Sky Blues moved to Northampton Town's Sixfields Stadium at the start of the season for at least three years.

It follows a long-running rent row with the Ricoh Arena, which saw the club fall into administration.


Coventry council blames FOI mix-up for 'fraud' claims

Coventry City Council has denied any wrongdoing in its use of European Development Fund cash - blaming "confusion" over a Freedom of Information Act request.

MEP Nikki Sinclaire has referred the authority to OLAF, the European Unions anti-fraud department, claiming there are "discrepancies" in what the council has used £4.75million of EU cash for.

But a spokesman for the council today said there had been a mix-up between two similar grants awarded by two different bodies.

He apologised for the incorrect information given at first - and said the authority was "surprised" by Ms Sinclaire's announcement.

There are two separate figures – a grant of £4.75million given to the Council in 2003 by Advantage West Midlands. This was used to fund the purchase of the Arena site. From 2006 onwards the Council received a series of European Regional Development Fund payments that finally amounted to £4.6million. These related to site acquisition and building costs on the overall site, but not for the Arena itself.

Both of these sums relate to the overall Arena project, which of course also included the delivery of the highly successful Arena Shopping Park.

The project has created hundreds of jobs for local people and provided a much needed boost to the local economy.

All of the transactions referred to by Ms Sinclaire have, of course, been subject to audit, both by the council’s auditors and by auditors for the European Commission, and received a clean bill of health.

We’re sorry we gave the wrong information initially - we mistakenly provided Ms Sinclaire with the AWM grant funding amount rather than the ERDF funding - in our original response to the FOI.

However, when Ms Sinclaire queried this information we did fully clarify the information and figures with her.

We’re therefore surprised that Ms Sinclaire has chosen to make such an issue of this as we’ve always been transparent and open about the funding used to redevelop the site.

– Coventry City Council spokesman

WATCH: MEP accuses Coventry City Council of fraud

West Midland MEP Nikki Sinclaire announced she would be referring Coventry City Council to the EU's anti-fraud department during a speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

She claims there are "discrepancies" in the way the council used Regional Development Fund cash, compared to what the European Commission believed it would be used for.

Ricoh row deepens amid allegations of fraud

Coventry City Council is facing a fraud investigation after Midland MEP Nikki Sinclaire announced she was reporting the authority to the EU anti-fraud unit.

Speaking in Strasbourg, Ms Sinclaire accused the council of "discrepancies in funding" over £4.75million of cash awarded towards the running of the Ricoh Arena.

West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA

She said she had submitted a Freedom of Information request to the council to establish what the money was to be used for.

But, she added, the answer "could not be further apart" from the answer the European Commission gave.

Today I can confirm that I am referring the matter to the EU anti-Fraud department, OLAF for investigation into this use of taxpayers’ money

There is something rotten at the heart of Coventry Council. Is there something fraudulent as well?

The council today denied any wrongdoing.

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