Bristol Rovers ‘substantively debt free’ after ownership change


Rovers president Wael Al-Qadi says ‘actions prove louder than words’ for League One club.

Bristol Rovers have announced a change in their ownership structure, which as a result leaves the club “substantively debt free”.

Rovers president Wael Al-Qadi bought a controlling stake in Dwane Sports, the club’s holding company, and has converted loans amounting to GBP 34.9million into equity.

Al-Qadi has also agreed to write off GBP 2.1m in interest that was charged on these loans, meaning the club’s only debts are now to ordinary trade creditors and leasing and hire purchase agreements.

Rovers finished 14th in League One after the 2019-20 campaign was curtailed by coronavirus, which Al-Qadi said represented “the biggest threat to the club’s existence to date”.

In an open letter to fans on the club’s website, he added: “Although there is still a long way to go, we have been working tirelessly to ensure that we not only survive but thrive.

“Following on from the acquisition of shares (of Dwane Sports), I have decided to capitalise the debt owed to Dwane Sports by Bristol Rovers (1883) Limited totalling GBP 18.4m and GBP 16.4m of debt owed by Bristol Rovers Limited to Bristol Rovers (1883) Limited.

“This means that apart from our ordinary trade creditors, leasing and HP agreements the club is substantively debt free. Furthermore, I have written off all of the interest that was charged on this debt, which totals GBP 2.1m.

“I know that this issue is one that has caused many supporters unnecessary but understandable concern.

“However, actions speak louder than words and I hope this move demonstrates my commitment to the club and my desire to see it achieve its full potential.”