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Last Updated: Friday, 7 March, 2003, 12:03 GMT
Stadium blow for Sky Blues
Graphic of the Arena complex, Coventry
The city council is one of the investors in the project
A construction company has pulled out of the project to build a 60m stadium for Coventry City, threatening to delay the football club's move to its new home.

Birse has withdrawn from its role in helping develop the 32,000-seat Coventry Arena, blaming the heavy losses it suffered during a similar venture with Leicester City.

The Cheshire-based company has been working on the design of the stadium for six weeks, but pulled out of the project on Thursday.

The football club is stressing the development will still go ahead, and it is hoped a replacement for Birse will be announced within 10 weeks.

We must not let this surprise announcement blow us off course
Paul Fletcher, Arena Coventry Limited

The Sky Blues' chairman Mike McGinnity admitted his frustration at the news.

"I do understand the financial implications Birse must have had following their reported losses on the Leicester City project.

"But this setback will not affect our determination in making our new stadium a reality, and I will do everything in my power to ensure it happens as soon as possible."

Paul Fletcher, chief executive of Arena Coventry Limited, which is overseeing the project, said it is a minor setback.

"This is a typical hiccup in a project of this nature, but it will not stop us in our ambition and determination."

"We must not let this surprise announcement blow us off course as we have an exciting scheme that all people connected with it now believe can be delivered."

Coventry City are scheduled to move into the stadium on the site of the former Foleshill gasworks in the summer of 2004.

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23 Jan 03 |  England

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