Cardiff Blues issued with statutory demand over unpaid rent

Cardiff Arms Park on a sunny day
Cardiff Arms Park lies alongside Principality Stadium

Cardiff Blues have been issued a demand by their landlords over unpaid rent at the Arms Park.

Cardiff Athletic Club (CAC) says it has handed a statutory demand to Cardiff Blues in respect of all outstanding debts, which is an undisclosed amount.

Failure to reach an agreement to pay or respond in 21 days could see CAC begin legal proceedings, which could even result in a winding up order.

Cardiff Blues have been asked to comment.

The CAC management committee said it had initially been agreed at its AGM in February to take legal action at the end of May if Cardiff Blues had not settled its "substantial rent arrears".

CAC says they planned to issue the statutory demand to the Welsh rugby region on 1 June, but that was delayed until the end of the month after an administration error.

The Athletic Club says it was assured by Cardiff Blues at the beginning of June a financial package had been arranged which would guarantee settlement of all arrears before the end of that month, so legal action was put on hold.

CAC say they were told certain conditions had been set by the lender which must be fulfilled by them before the rent would be paid.

The Athletic Club say they were unable to meet those conditions which they say anyway were a breach of the terms of the lease between Cardiff Athletic Club and Cardiff Blues Ltd with regards to rent arrears.

CAC bosses say they have not received the rent arrears and the statutory demand has now been issued.

What is a statutory demand?

Alun Jones (L) took over from Peter Thomas as Cardiff Blues chairman in January
Alun Jones (L) took over from Peter Thomas as Cardiff Blues chairman in January 2019

When an individual or company that owes money receives a statutory demand, they have 21 days to either pay the debt or reach an agreement to pay.

The Athletic Club could apply to wind up the Cardiff Blues company if they do not respond to the statutory demand within 21 days.

A CAC statement read: "Cardiff Athletic Club recognises the tough financial environment for regional rugby in Wales and has made every effort to work with Cardiff Blues Ltd to clear the outstanding arrears.

"However, Cardiff Athletic Club management committee has a duty to all five (bowls, rugby, hockey, cricket and tennis) of its sections.

"The absence of any rental payments for such a substantial period has impacted on the operations for all sections of the club.

"Having exhausted all areas of negotiation and being able to settle this matter amicably, Cardiff Athletic Club has therefore issued a statutory demand in respect of all outstanding debts to protect the interests of our members."

Cardiff Blues said in February 2018 they were considering moving from their Arms Park home after a failure to negotiate a new lease beyond 2022 with CAC.

The region are training at their Arms Park base for the 2019-20 season after leaving their previous home at the Vale of Glamorgan hotel.

The recent Blues annual report revealed they had an "outstanding commitment for future minimum lease payments under non-cancellable operating leases" totalling £412,661 with regards to the Arms Park.

New Blues chairman Alun Jones had admitted the latest financial figures had not made pleasant reading, with benefactor Peter Thomas having helped bankroll the region.