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Crusaders Slam-Dunked Out Of SkyDome

The BUPA Coventry Crusaders have been kicked out of the SkyDome Arena and will not be playing their home games there next season after a row with the owners.

The reason for the Crusaders being moved on after having agreed to play their matches there varies.

SkyDome owners Planet Ice insist it is because the Crusaders failed to win top-flight status in the Dairylea Dunkers League.

But Crusaders owner Dip Donaldson claims it is due to a disagreement over compensation for the debut game last month that was called off because of a wet court.

Despite claims made by Planet Ice in April, no contract was signed. The Crusaders have now arranged to return to playing their games in the Sports Centre.

Simon Burnett, general manager of the SkyDome Arena, said the decision to part company with Donaldson had been taken very reluctantly.

He said:

"Planet Ice gave Dip and his club a great foundation on which they could build a solid, commercially sound future in the top flight. They have, however, failed to meet the financial requirements of entry into the league and the chance has gone.

"We feel there has been a lack of realistic ambition on the Crusaders' behalf.  A city the size of Coventry with such a rich sporting heritage, coupled with a state-of-the-art arena should have been a massive help in their bid to attract backing and they have had a long time to prepare a business plan.

"That has simply not come to fruition and we have felt that certain of their aims have not been conducive to us running a successful commercial operation when we host their matches. We feel our ambitions have not been matched.”

Donaldson has rebutted this. He said:

“The issue that started all this was me looking for compensation for the failed game. Planet Ice has constantly skated around the issue of this.

“The owners gave me their word about playing there next season.”

"At the current time the SkyDome have not responded to the Crusaders' initial attempts to resolve the opening night debacle of 15 May 2000.

"Accordingly, the Crusaders are having to make alternative arrangements for the 2000/01 Season as we remain unconvinced of the SkyDome's commitment to the Crusaders and their supporters."

He added that he was taking legal advice about getting compensation, but did not feel that the offer from Planet Ice was good enough.

Burnett added:

“The failed fixture was looked on from the outset as a special one-off game totally separate from the season.

“Correspondence has been exchanged between Dip and Planet Ice on the subject.

“We feel both parties lost out on an unfortunate evening but we had given the Crusaders the venue rent-free, and are still prepared to discuss the matter directly with Dip.

“We did make an offer based on a 50-50 split of ticket sale, but that was rejected.”

"We wish Dip and all his team the best of luck for the future. We have been in talks with the British Basketball League about the possibility of bringing another team to the city to guarantee top-flight games in Coventry. Talks are under way but we hope to have some news shortly."
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CWN / Sport / Basketball / Coventry Crusaders / 21 Jun 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM