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banner Monday, 28 May, 2001, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Real to solve debt crisis
Roberto Carlos and Steve McManaman during training
Roberto Carlos and Steve McManaman during training
Real Madrid's members have voted to approve the club's plan to sell its city-centre training facilities in order to clear debts of 165m.

In an extraordinary general meeting held on Sunday, 92% of those who voted supported the deal between the club, Madrid's city council and the regional government.

Club president Florentino Perez said the deal, which is expected to generate about 206m, has assured the economic future of the club.

"Today is an historic day for Real Madrid because the plan has been approved by a vast majority and it will banish forever the cursed debt that has been hanging over the club.

The monstrous debt has left the club in a state of economic intensive care
  Florentino Perez, Real Madrid president

"Decisions like this will allow the club to establish itself as the best club in the world in the 21st century," he added.

Perez made the scheme to sell the training ground a key part of his election manifesto when he was campaigning for the presidency last July.

He also expressed repeated concern about the scale of Real's debt and made it clear on Sunday that urgent action was needed if the club was to continue to function normally.

"The monstrous debt has left the club in a state of economic intensive care," Perez told the members as he urged them to support the deal.

Madrid theme park

According to the terms of the agreement, Real Madrid will retain the rights to a section of land which it will sell for office construction.

The club will then be able to clear its debt and still have enough cash left over to build a completely new training facility on cheaper land on the edge of the city.

The new training ground, which will also include a Real Madrid theme park and accommodation for young players, is expected to be completed for the start of the 2004 season.

The agreement will also mean that the city council will be able to use the present Real training ground in order to build a state-of-the-art sports stadium which will act as the centre-piece of the city's proposed bid for the 2012 Olympics.

As well as securing approval for the plan to sell the training ground Perez has also finalised a series of marketing and image deals that have secured the short-term financial future of the club.

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