Coventry City FC's hopes of returning to the Ricoh Arena have been dashed after their owner Sisu lost a court battle with Coventry City Council.
A judicial review has taken place which has seen the council successfully defend itself against claims its £14.4 million loan to Arena Coventry Limited (ACL), the owners of the Sky Blues' former home the Ricoh Arena, was an 'unlawful subsidy'.
A statement released on the club's website after the hearing described the ruling as "unfortunate" and explained how the club believed building a new stadium was now the "only viable commercial option" with any prospect of a move back to their home of eight years seemingly in tatters.
A row with ACL over rent meant League One Coventry City played their home games over 35 miles away at Northampton's Sixfields in 2013/14 in front of meagre crowds.
"Coventry City Football Club and its owners' primary objective remains building a long-term future," it read.
"The judgement by Hickinbottom J, that the council's decision to provide a £14.4 million loan to private stadium management company Arena Coventry Limited was not an unlawful subsidy, is unfortunate.
"The football club and its owners believe that the loan, which exceeded the value of the stadium by almost 200 per cent, was neither lawful nor in the interests of the supporters, taxpayers, stadium operators or the club.
"ACL will now remain burdened with debt for the next 43 years, removing any prospect of a long-term return to the stadium by the club.
"With this level of debt, there is no realistic prospect of any sports franchise or ACL being able to generate sufficient revenue to be commercially viable.
"We will apply for leave to appeal this decision. Now, more than ever, the new stadium is the only viable commercial option.
"The owner's primary objective remains building a long-term sound financial platform for the future growth of the club."
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