Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group serves Coventry City FC eviction notice
Mike Ashley, the billionaire owner of Sports Direct and House of Fraser, has served Coventry City with an eviction notice ordering the Championship football club to leave its home stadium.
Frasers Group, which is majority owned by Ashley and took over the stadium last month, on Monday said the Blues had no continuing rights to use the ground after the club refused to sign a new tenancy agreement it claimed was “less favourable”.
The club said in a statement: “Following the Frasers Group acquisition of the stadium from administrators, Coventry City have been told that we must agree a new licence to play at the Coventry Building Society Arena.
“We were surprised to learn of this intention by Frasers Group, given that discussions with Coventry City prior to the completion of their purchase of the arena led us to understand the existing terms would continue unchanged with Frasers Group as the new owners of the arena.
“Coventry City football club (CCFC) has an existing long-term licence to play at the arena, which was agreed in March 2021 to run until 2031.”
News of the eviction notice came after Coventry announced on Friday its FA Youth Cup game against Southampton on Saturday had been switched to Leamington FC “due to unforeseen circumstances”.
The club said after Frasers Group’s purchase of the stadium – from the former owners Wasps rugby club, which collapsed into administration in October – the new owners had said they were “looking forward to working with Coventry City football club”.
The club added that it hoped Ashley’s company would “act on those words for the good of the arena, the football club, our fans and the city and community that they are now part of”.
Frasers Group said it wanted to work with the club to secure its future at the stadium. “Frasers has, throughout all its involvement with the stadium, been supportive of securing the long-term future of CCFC playing its games at the stadium. This position remains unchanged,” it said.
“Prior to acquiring the stadium, Frasers issued a new licence mirroring the terms CCFC had agreed with the previous owners. However, CCFC chose not to sign it at that time.
“A revised proposal, together with a new licence, has been issued to CCFC and will secure the immediate future of CCFC at the stadium.
“Signing the licence would allow for more detailed discussions to take place about CCFC’s long-term arrangements at the stadium, including to accommodate a number of requests which were raised by CCFC. Frasers looks forward to working with the club to host the upcoming games.”