Stoke & Staffordshire

Council to write off £1.5m loan to Port Vale

Vale Park
Image caption Port Vale entered administration in March after being hit with a winding-up petition

A council has agreed to write off £1.5m of its £2.8m loan to Port Vale FC.

The club entered administration in March after being hit with a winding-up petition due to an unpaid tax bill and concerns over other debts.

Stoke-on-Trent councillors also voted to accept £1.3m to cover the rest of the debt from Keith Ryder, the preferred bidder set to buy the club.

At a meeting on Thursday, 87% of the club's creditors voted in favour of Mr Ryder's bid.

Administrators Begbie Traynor said Mr Ryder still needed approval from the Football League before his takeover could be completed.

It said it was hopeful the club would be out of administration by June.

Administrators identified Lancashire businessman Mr Ryder as the preferred bidder earlier this month.

Council leader Mohammed Pervez said the authority was trying to safeguard the club and protect public money.

Mr Pervez said: "We believe this offer represents the best outcome under extremely difficult circumstances.

"The alternative would be to liquidate Port Vale Football Club, which is not what we want, and then we'd have to do something with the land which could cost the taxpayer £5m," he added.

But the leader of the City Independent group, Dave Conway, said he was concerned writing off the loan could set a "dangerous precedent" for others who owe the council money.

The club also went into administration in 2002 and was taken over the following year by supporter-based group Valiant.

In 2006, singer Robbie Williams invested £240,000.

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