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Masthead Local Govt - Procurement and Contracts

Court of Appeal sends council and football club owners to mediation in state aid row

The Court of Appeal has ordered Coventry City Council and the owners of Coventry City Football Club, the Sisu group, to mediate their long-running dispute over the Ricoh Arena.

Sisu claims that the council granted the owners of Wasps unlawful state aid when the rugby club acquired a 250-year lease over the stadium.

This was rejected by the High Court, however. In September this year the Court of Appeal granted Sisu permission to appeal.

At a hearing last month (28 November), in addition to ordering mediation, the Court of Appeal granted Sisu permission to amend and to rely on expert evidence in their claim.

The court will hear Sisu’s appeal in May 2018, should mediation prove unsuccessful.

Rhodri Thompson QC and Nicholas Gibson of Matrix Law represent the Sisu group, instructed by Fieldfisher.

James Goudie QC and Ronnie Dennis of 11KBW are acting for the city council.

Legal proceedings between Sisu and the council have been ongoing for several years. In December 2016 the Supreme Court refused Sisu permission to appeal a Court of Appeal ruling that a £14.4m council loan to the then owner of the stadium was not unlawful state aid.

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