Coventry City: Gary Hoffman offer to pay Ricoh Arena rent rejected

Former Coventry City vice-chairman Gary Hoffman says his offer to help fund the League One club's Ricoh Arena rent for the next three years has been rejected.

Coventry have agreed a three-year groundshare at Northampton in the wake of the rent row with their Ricoh Arena landlords Arena Coventry Limited (ACL).

"I talked to [Coventry chief executive] Tim Fisher about it and his immediate response was no," said Hoffman.

"I hoped what he'd do is take it away, but he was emphatic the answer was no."

Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena

  • The Ricoh Arena has been the Sky Blues' base since 2005 when they left Highfield Road, their home for the previous 106 years.
  • Arena Coventry Ltd manage the Ricoh Arena on behalf of the stadium's joint-owners.
  • Coventry City Council owns a share of the 32,000-capacity ground, along with the Alan Edward Higgs Charity.

Coventry agreed the groundshare at Sixfields shortly after the club was purchased by the London-based Otium Entertainment Group.

Otium was founded by three former Coventry directors - Ken Dulieu, Onye Igwe and Leonard Brody - all of whom have a connection with previous owners Sisu.

Hoffman, who worked closed with a consortium backed by American tycoon Preston Haskell IV interested in buying the club before Otium's takeover, left the club in the same month that Brody took up his post on the Sky Blues board in 2011, only to depart nine months later.

Hoffman says that he would pull together a group of people to keep Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena next year, instead of having to make the 68-mile round trip to Northampton.

"I just want to see the Sky Blues playing in Coventry, and I was thinking of a way to try and make that happen," Hoffman told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire.

"It would mean that Otium would not have to pay the costs to Northampton or the costs of the Ricoh.

"Optimistically, I think there will be around 3,000 Coventry fans at Northampton. My assumption at the Ricoh is there would be around 5,000 more than that, an extra £1.5m of ticket money which is effectively being thrown away.

"I'm offering to pay the rent, and sharing half of that ticket money with Otium. We would just take the [rent money] back and the rest could be invested in the academy."