English League 1

Coventry seeking 'normality'

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Wed, 05 Dec 2012 22:21:00

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson had no complaints after his side were beaten by a Cluj wonder goal on Wednesday.

The Romanians became the first visitors to win in the Champions League at Old Trafford in three years thanks to Luis Alberto's swerving drive into the top corner from 25 yards.

The victory was not enough to see Cluj into the last 16 with Galatasaray progressing to the knockout phase courtesy of a better head-to-head record following their 2-1 win over Braga.

Despite the defeat, Ferguson was able to draw a number of positives from the performance of his young side, who created enough chances to get something from the match.

"It was a wonder goal that beat us," said the United manager. "We had a lot of good chances but with a goal like that we have no complaints, You can't do a lot about it.

"We had a young side out that did very well at times. I'm satisfied they put a decent performance in.

"It was a good experience for the youngsters. Nick Powell I though in the first half did quite well for us and Phil Jones had an excellent game. It's only his second game in about nine months so I'm very pleased with that part.

"We qualified earlier so it gave us a chance to experiment and play the players that needed a game. We gave some young players a bit of experience and that will hold them in good stead.

"We're into the next stage being winners of the group and there are some big names in there. We could face Shakhtar Donetsk, Milan, Porto."

"We qualified comfortably and the real tournament starts in February. The knockout stages are fantastic."

The Sky Blues have been handed a 21-day deadline to pay their outstanding rent on the Ricoh Arena.

ACL issued them with the deadline after being owed ?1.6million by the Sky Blues, but the League One club will fight what they believe are extortionate rates.

"We are disappointed by ACL's actions to issue a statutory demand to Coventry City Football Club rather than, as we had requested, sitting down with us to negotiate a level of rent which the club can afford and which is in line with the rent paid by other clubs," a statement read.

"For reference, ACL has been charging CCFC an annual rent of ?1.28 million, which we understand is the highest in both League One and the Championship.

"We understand that the average annual rent paid by League One clubs (excluding CCFC) is less than ?170,000 and that the average in the Championship is less than ?290,000. All other clubs which rent their stadia get full access to 100 per cent of match day food, beverage and car parking revenues, unlike CCFC.

"The club's objective in requesting these negotiations with ACL has been only to bring about a state of commercial normality, where CCFC pays the same level of rent and has access to the same type of ancillary revenues as the other football clubs with which it competes."

The Sky Blues left their Highfield Road home in 2005 to take up residence at the 32,000-seater stadium, but insists it has become unviable to continue there.

The statement continued: "It is unsustainable for CCFC to be put at a severe financial disadvantage to its peers.

"While we have been seeking to normalise the rent, we have continued to pay match-day costs to ensure that ACL is not left out-of-pocket.

"The club remains committed to the city and people of Coventry. However, its viability depends on it finding an alternative home ground where it can afford to play."

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