CV Leisure, the company which chairman Scott Priestnall used to buy Yeovil Town, has confirmed it has paid back the £1.35m it borrowed to complete the deal.
In a filing on Companies House, the company confirmed it has satisfied in full Charge Number 1150 9426 0001, which links to the money Priestnall and then-business partner Errol Pope borrowed from Poole-based lender MSP Capital back in September 2019.
The confirmation of the payment of the loan comes just days after South Somerset District Council (SSDC) confirmed it had bought the club’s Huish Park stadium and land around it in a deal worth £2.8m, and will rent it back to the club.
The timing would suggest that the money generated from the sale of the land has been used to pay back the debt owed by CV Leisure, which were secured against the club’s assets.
On Wednesday, same notification was filed by Yeovil Town Holdings Limited, the company which owned the land around Huish Park before it was bought by SSDC last week, which the debt taken on by Priestnall was secured against.
In the words of Somerset Live when the loan was taken out in 2019, the move by Priestnall to secure the loan he took out against the club’s land assets “effectively acts as a mortgage against the stadium.” At that time, the chairman spoke about the loan as “a facility to help us move forward with the land.”
In our latest Gloverscast poll, 204 people (65.8%) voted that Priestnall benefited most from the SSDC deal with a further 54 (17.4%) believing the council would benefit the most. 52 people (16.8%) believed that Yeovil Town FC would benefit the most from it.
Last weekend, SSDC said its deal would “help with the club’s survival, generate a new rental income, while protecting our ratepayers from loss or excessive risk.”
After the deal was announced, Priestnall said in a statement that the money paid by the council would “help pay for costs incurred during the pandemic such as deferred payments with some of our key partners and deferred salaries to our incredible staff and players who accepted a reduction in wages during lockdown when the Club could not operate.”
He added: “In addition to this, the funds will also allow us to engage contractors and consultants to put forward a planning application for the site as well as allowing us to sensibly invest in required maintenance work and our playing squad. Fundamentally, it has also allowed us to negotiate and remove the well-publicised restrictive covenants held over the site since the football club moved to the site.”
However, none of the 852 words in the statement said anything about paying off debts against either the owner or the club. There is no reference to the almost £1m it has borrowed from Sport England.
We are expecting to have Councillor John Clark, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, on this Friday’s podcast to discuss the deal. Given our track record with being able to speak with people about the deal though, we can never completely promise!
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