Coventry City Council and Wasps RFC ordered to mediate long-running State aid dispute with owners of Coventry City FC


On Tuesday, 28 November 2017, the Court of Appeal allowed the first part of an appeal by the owners of Coventry City FC, granting them permission to amend and to rely on expert evidence in their claim that Coventry City Council granted the owners of Wasps RFC an unlawful State aid in a transaction by which Wasps acquired a 250-year lease over the Ricoh Arena, which is Coventry City FC’s home ground and now shared with Wasps RFC.

Further, the Council, Wasps and the owners of Coventry City FC have been ordered by the Court of Appeal to mediate the long-running legal battle over the Ricoh Arena. The dispute between Coventry City FC and the Council as owners of the Ricoh Arena started in 2012 with a dispute over the rent, and has led to allegations of State aid provided by the Council to the operating company of the stadium and also to Wasps, who acquired the long lease to the ground in early 2015. Mediation will take place at the start of next year and is due to conclude around the end of March 2018. Should mediation be unsuccessful, the Court of Appeal will hear the remaining part of Coventry City FC’s appeal, relating to the substance of the State aid issue, in May 2018.

Rhodri Thompson QC and Nicholas Gibson represent the Sisu group, the owners of Coventry City football club, instructed by Fieldfisher.