David's withdrawal leaves Coventry open to Ranson

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The Independent Online

The Greek billionaire Alki David has withdrawn his interest in buying Coventry City after he claimed the Championship club was "falling apart".

Businessman and movie mogul David, 39, who has a reported fortune of 4bn, yesterday emerged as an late challenger to Ray Ranson's bid to buy the club, who are 38m in debt. But after studying Coventry's finances David withdrew his interest, paving the way for Ranson's Sisu consortium to take over at the Ricoh Arena.

"After looking through the finances and seeing the numbers, the club is falling apart," David said. "The debt does not tally. Good luck to whoever takes them on. I'm not getting involved. I had [Coventry director] Geoffrey Robinson here this afternoon when I was ready to commit. He left me a document on the finances of the club. After looking through it and seeing the numbers it is no surprise that the club is falling apart. It is difficult to see how the expenditure was made the way it was especially over the last three years."

Despite his assessment of the club, David wished Coventry well and hoped that Ranson's group were able to complete a deal. If Sisu are to take over the club they must strike a deal before tomorrow's deadline, when Coventry must either prove their solvency or enter administration and incur a 10-point deduction.

"I hope the other group can push a deal through because it is a club with a huge amount of potential," said David. "But there seems to be a lot of people involved who are emotionally attached and that is not good for business."

David revealed that another reason he withdrew his interest in Coventry was because he had invested in a rugby club this week. "I have made an investment in a good rugby club. That is a sport I understand and an announcement about who that club is will be made shortly." However, David insisted that was not the end of his football interest. "I will still be investing in a football club. One that is a solid outfit either at the top of the Championship or in the Premier League," said David, who is a shareholder at the Greek champions, Panathinaikos.

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