Airco Arena Evictions

Airco Arena

I have never been a football fan, I am still not a football fan. I am a community fan.” – Assem Allam, October 2014

Tigers Academy

The Hull Tigers Academy is run by Hull City AFC and “develops talented young footballers from the age of eight to twenty-one”.

July 2014: In an attempt to improve youth development at Hull City Allam moves the Tigers Academy to Bishop Burton College and increases the annual budget from £700,000 to just over £2m.

October 2014: The Tigers Academy fails an independent audit to raise it’s status from Category 3 to a Category 2 Academy. Failure to provide a dedicated covered 3G pitch is the main reason cited. Ehab Allam “Apparently we only missed on level two by two per cent… We asked for them to reconsider but they came back and said no… We’ve now asked for another audit this year and they’ve said that may not come for another 18 months.”

Talks over building a covered pitch at Bishop Burton College apparently breakdown after the college insists the new facility must be in keeping with their other red brick buildings making it too costly for the club to build there.

A date for the re-audit is granted for 23 April 2015. The club believes the new facility must be being built by the time of the audit to gain Category 2 status.

Airco Arena

The Airco Arena is a sports centre located next to the KC Stadium and is run by the Stadium Management Company which is owned by Assem Allam. Terms of the lease say the sports hall should be available to be used “at all reasonable times” and “by any resident of Kingston upon Hull“.

March 2015: The Stadium Management Company (SMC) gives a month’s notice to the community clubs that use the Airco Arena. It plans to install a 3G Pitch in the Arena for exclusive use of the football club. The project will cost in excess of £250,000 to complete. Allam claims the tight deadline leaves them no other option.

Airco for All

March 2015: Hull City Council writes a letter to the Premier League expressing its “deep concerns” over what it describes as “unreasonable timescales” being imposed on the club.

April 2015: An alternative option of a ‘dome pitch’ is considered on the existing hockey pitches behind the KC Stadium. The club want reassurances that planning permission will be given as the dome pitch would cost an additional £850,000. If the application is rejected the club insist “the council should give 18 month rate relief for the KC Stadium and Airco Arena or £425,000 compensation towards the costs“.

April 2015: The Council reply that an assurance that any planning permission be approved “would be a pre-determination of the application and lead to an unlawful decision.

April 2015: Premier League Statement: “It’s up to the clubs to request a date on which the independent audit takes place, and is not dictated by the Premier League“. The Premier League agrees to push back the deadline until September 2015.

April 2015: The club begins work on laying a 3G Pitch inside the Airco Arena which costs £38k

April 2015: In a letter to Ehab Allam, Vice Chairman of the SMC, the Council confirms that the laying of the pitch without permission and for exclusive use by Hull City AFC is a breach of its lease and that – if the SMC fails to comply – legal action will be considered.

June 2015: Hull City Council start legal proceedings against the SMC in “relation to a breach of the terms of its lease of the Airco Arena“.

August 2015: Judge Behrens rules “there is no breach of covenant and the claim for an injunction fails

September 2015: SMC statement claims HCC spent estimated £115k on case they couldn’t win.

(Last updated 18/09/15)