My aim is not to provide all the answers, but to raise questions, and perhaps to cause a few headaches in the process…
Chinua Achebe (2012), ‘There was a country’
Welcome to A Prison of Measured Time, a blog on football. Today, football is just as much about finances as what happens on the pitch. So, the blog is about football. And finances in football. And in particular, the long and rather protracted dispute surrounding the ownership and administration of Coventry City FC. All opinions and views expressed are simply that, opinion and interpretations of the author, Richard Baskott. I am not responsible, nor will be held liable for, any comments left, nor guarantee that all will be published.
Sunday 08 September 2013. Coventry City vs Colchester United.
The clubs lowest recorded attendance. Ever. View gallery
Tim Fisher, CEO of CCFC Holdings Ltd, the parent company that controls Coventry City Football Club on behalf of the Cayman Island based hedge fund, SISU, appeared fairly relaxed about the situation when questioned in the summer at the specially arranged fan forums. When the proposed relocation to Sixfields went ahead, he predicted attendances of around 6-7,000 if the club were doing well and around 3,000 if results were poor. Fisher’s popularity ratings amongst Sky Blues fans is at an all time low after the conduct over the summer, but he has a background in banking and economics and so must surely be far from the incompetent clueless fool that many depict. Where did his figures come from, and why did he get it so wrong? Continue Reading
“One of the reason’s given by the council for rejecting the CVA that caused the ten point loss was they wanted an investigation into where players contracts sat but, the truth is, they have known all along and have chosen to act as if it is some kind of mystery.
T. Fisher, CCFC v Preston NE programme notes, 25 August 2013
Posted on August 25, 2013 by Paul Grafton
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
One of the Greatest Wonders of the Football World!! Like, I wonder who thought this was a good idea? (Take a bow Timmy!)
Featuring – THE HUMAN CANONBALL – Witness Tim’s attempt at destroying 130 years of history with just one selfish act. Continue Reading
Posted on August 21, 2013
Clark Kent. Not Greg Clarke. Nor Superman.
Greg Clarke, the chairman of the Football League has finally come out and admitted that the League have made ‘administrative oversights’ when registering players contracts on behalf of Coventry City FC, errors seemingly replicated at the FA. The golden share resides with CCFC Ltd, whereas players registrations have been assigned to CCFC Holdings Ltd. What are the likely implications for such an error? Continue Reading
SISU and the SISU nominated administrator are now under serious pressure. The administration process of CCFC Ltd is set to become a liquidation process, although not yet initiated, where investigations in the failure of the company will be high on the agenda. New evidence has come to light that questions their interpretation of the structure of the companies behind the club as set down by both Tim Fisher, CEO of Otium Entertainment Group and CCFC Holdings Ltd, part of the SISU group of companies, and contained in the Administrators Report written by Paul Appleton. On Tuesday, the owners issues were compounded by the rejection of the application for a judicial review at the High Court, initiated by SISU, into the loan ACL received from the Council earlier this year. Continue Reading
Coventry City FC Ltd is set to be liquidated on the eve of the 125th anniversary of the Football League. The CVA to bring the company out of administration was accepted by the secured creditors of companies controlled by SISU along with the Higgs Trust, but rejected by both HMRC and ACL, the clubs landlords at the Ricoh. As no consensus could be found, the company will now be wound up. A document has come to light that appears to suggest the board in May 2008, shortly after SISU took control, intended the club to split in the manner reported in the documents submitted to Companies House, directly opposing Fisher’s interpretation. Two individuals who were part of the board at that time and who continue to be associated with the club and have appeared regularly in press reports during the administration process have yet to issue any information on this core issue. One is Garry Hoffman, , the other Joe Elliot. Continue Reading
It looks like it will go all the way to the wire. The creditors meeting for Coventry City Football Club Ltd was today adjourned once again, at the request of ACL, the landlords at the Ricoh, with the terms of the CVA remaining incomplete and unsigned. ACL have offered SISU Capital, the Cayman Island registered Hedge Fund that controls the club on behalf of investors, a new rental agreement with terms which propose a substantial reduction from the current contract. Continue reading
On Wednesday, the Coventry Telegraph released details of a proposed ‘secret’ meeting set to take place on between ACL, the landlord at the Ricoh Arena, and representatives from Coventry City Football Club. SISU are apparently desperate for the CVA to be signed by ACL to take the club out of administration and allow the club to compete in the transfer market once again and so have reluctantly agreed to talks over playing at the Ricoh next season. Yet it is Holdings, not CCFC Ltd that apparently sign the players now. Holdings are not restricted by the administration process. So why are SISU apparently so desperate for talks? Continue Reading
Tim Fisher, CEO of Otium Entertainment Group Ltd, the preferred bidder to take Coventry City out of the administration process has a difficult task ahead. On the one hand, he has to maximise the income for the club to comply with obligations under the new Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations which the Football League claim will be strictly enforced. This must be balanced with the need to encourage reluctant supporters to travel outside of the city boundaries to the newly imposed home down the M45 at Sixfields in Northamptonshire. Attendances have been falling… Continue Reading
The agreement has been signed and the deal has been given the green light by the Football League. Coventry City are set to leave the city and the Ricoh Arena to relocate to Sixfields in Northamptonshire, some 35 miles away. What are the likely financial implications for the club, and how will this translate to performance on the pitch? It looks far from promising for the Sky Blues. Continue Reading
Tim Fisher stated in a Q&A on 24 May that ‘We have put forward proposals to the administrator which would see all creditors at the date of the administration paid in full, including ACL,’ and yet ACL now are set to receive just 25.9p in the pound. One of the other secured creditors, Arvo Master Fund, who had taken out a debenture on CCFC Ltd assets and instigated the administration process will now write off its debt from the company, in full. Are serious questions even being asked of Otium in relation to the FL own regulations? Are the regulations simply taking up space on their web-site, an exercise in spin, without any real teeth? Continue reading here
Its shocking shocking news for the Coventry fans … The people of Coventry don’t deserve that. To think what they must be thinking . . . sitting here like I am in tears for what’s going on.
The message boards and social media have been busy today with the majority of Coventry fans in dismay and in agreement with ‘Snoz’, the manager from the 1987 FA Cup winning side. They are angry at the announcement that the Sky Blues are likely to be playing home games in the coming season some forty miles from the city, at Sixfields, the home of Northampton Town FC. Continue Reading here
The Administrator has spoken.
I can confirm that the asset sale by Coventry City FC Limited to Otium Entertainment Group Limited has been completed … I stress that I have only been able to sell such right and title to these as Limited possesses, because CCFC Holdings Ltd asserts beneficial ownership over them.
If the FL don’t act over the concept of ‘beneficial ownership’, will this case set a precedent that could allow clubs to be purchased by investors that already own another club? Could this be the end of football as we know it, with many clubs in the lower divisions becoming feeder teams for those in the champions league? The main difference between now and the future is that this would be formal relationship. Continue Reading here
The government claims it is poised to act. The recommendations in the follow up report by the Department of Media, Culture & Sport DCMS on football governance are absolutely clear. Failure of the footballing authorities to act efficiently and effectively to press through the necessary reforms that are expected will be met with the most serious consequence. Continue Reading herePosted on June 22, 2013
Will the expected takeover of CCFC Ltd by Otium Entertainment Group Ltd be an opportunity for the footballing authorities to finally flex their muscles and show the ‘football family’, other stakeholders, the Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and the government that they are finally taking their responsibility as custodians of the great game seriously? Continue Reading here
The fixtures for the Football League (FL) have been released. Coventry City FC will at least be participating in the competition, after the club and CCFC Ltd, were taken out of administration on Friday 14 June, 2013. The club had been playing home games at the Ricoh Arena in the north of the city since leaving their former home, Highfield Road, in 2005. What are the chances that this will continue this season? Continue reading
The administrator has made his decision. Out of the four proposals submitted, Paul Appleton has announced that the bid from Otium Entertainment Ltd, one of the companies under the control of SISU, is his preferred option to take the club, and CCFC Ltd out of administration. Reactions from City fans on forum posts suggest that the outcome is rather like hearing the news that a terminally ill relative has died. Continue ReadingPosted on June 17, 2013
Or to be more precise, the blazer bearing the clubs emblem. The deal now only needs the green light from the Football league (FL), and then the company will sold and the club will be out of administration. So, what can we expect the reaction from the FL to this curious state of affairs? Continue Reading
So he has been at it again. This time, Tim Fisher, the director of CCFC Holdings Ltd is now alleged to have said:
They should put a statue of Joy Seppala outside the ground for the £45 million she has put into the club.
The Coventry Telegraph reported that Tim considered the comment to be a ‘tongue in check quip’. Continue Reading here
Posted on June 1, 2013Mr Fisher has been very busy in the press recently. He has repeatedly declared that the football club is, and always has been, run by CCFC Holdings Ltd. His argument is being taken so seriously that the Administrator is still unsure which of the companies in the group is the football club, even after almost three months of examining the records and conducting numerous enquiries with relevant authorities. What are the repercussions for the companies and directors if Tim’s declarations are found to have substance? Continue reading here
There is very little information forthcoming from any of the parties involved after the meeting between the creditors of CCFC Ltd and the independent Administrator held on 29 May 2013 at the Hilton Hotel in Coventry. The meeting lasted around three hours and has been adjourned until June 12 in two weeks time. What can be holding things up? Continue Reading here
Posted on May 27, 2013
There are a couple more discrepancies that have come to light on the Administrators Report of 15 May 2013. Lets hope that the Administrator will have paid attention to such details highlighted here, so that in the final report, we can be confident that a thorough, precise and correct examination has been completed. Continue reading here
Posted on May 26, 2013
An Administrators role is defined by independence, regardless of who and how appointed. The Insolvency Act 1986 states that ‘An administrator is an officer of the court (whether or not he is appointed by the court).’ How independent is Mr Appleton in the case of Coventry City Football Club Limited (CCFC Ltd)? Continue Reading here
So the administrator had finally made a clear declaration on the elusive ‘golden share’. His statement on Friday, reported in the Coventry Telegraph as
Following information I have received from various stakeholders, I now believe the registration of the Golden Share lies with Limited.
He is careful in his choice of words. I ‘believe’, is key. Continue reading here
A football club needs players. FIFA’s laws of the game are quite clear. Law No 3 states ‘a match is played by two teams, each consisting on not more than eleven players, one of whom is the goalkeeper’. But which of the companies that form the Sky Blues is the football club at Coventry City? Read more
The administrator has finally reported. Mr. Appleton has requested another six week worth of work to investigate further. He has been unable to confirm which company listed its principle activity as a professional football club. He also has not been able to establish in which company the players contracts reside. He has yet to locate the ‘golden share’, the certificate which allows the club to compete in the football league. Read more…
It was stated at the High Court in March 2013 that debts are now pushing £60 million. This level of debt is clearly unsustainable but how is that debt calculated, and what does it consist of? Read more
Claims that SISU have invested £60 million into the club are regularly reported, yet fans cannot see where this money has actually been spent. Exactly how much has been invested? Read more…
Si and Sue paid off the debts with other peoples money and saved a fortune. They were very pleased with themselves. They gave Coco a bit of cash to help get her back on her feet. To teach Coco a lesson, they didn’t tell her about the agreement they had arranged to pay off the debts. Read more…