Swansea football club sold for £1

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The Independent Online

The owners of Swansea City Football Club yesterday sold the team they bought four years ago for £100 for just £1.

The Ninth Floor disposed of its 99.2 per cent holding in Swansea, which was relegated to the third division last season, to the current chief executive of the club, Mike Lewis.

Neil McClure, chairman and joint chief executive of Ninth Floor, said: "Football is not what it was four years ago. The fundamentals of the lower league game have changed completely ... It's not a headache now."

He said that the recent European ruling on transfer fees meant that the money now went to players rather than the clubs. And he said media money, for the television rights, had gone mainly to the Premier League.

Under yesterday's deal, Swansea has undertaken to pay back £801,000 of loans to Ninth Floor over the next four years. When Mr McClure's company bought Swansea for £100 in 1997, it paid £500,000 to cover debt to its previous owners.

Debt built up under Ninth Floor through players costs and the expense of getting planning permission for a £20m new stadium. That planning consent has now been obtained and the new 25,000-seat venue will be built. Profits from developing an adjourning 700,000 sq ft commercial scheme will pay for it.

Ninth Floor, which has sold its windscreen business too, plans a change of direction. It has bought two new companies. One provides closed circuit TV monitoring services and the other is an IT and telecoms consultancy. The group's shares, at a high last year of 76.75p, closed yesterday at 4.25p, up 0.25p .

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