West Brom chairman misses deadline to repay £4.95m loan

Credit: West Bromwich Albion

West Bromwich Albion have confirmed another repayment deadline has been missed by its chairman and controlling shareholder Guochuan Lai.

Lai took out a £4.95m loan in March 2021 to help another of his companies – Wisdom Smart Corporation, through the pandemic.

The chairman – who has been very absent from The Hawthorns – said the money would be returned with £50,000 interest by 31st December 2022. This date was set after Lai postponed repayment from September 2021.

Lai said in June: “The upturn in the global economy has brought with it greater positivity and I can confirm I will repay the loan in full, with interest, by the end of the current calendar year and the funds will be available to the club during the January 2023 transfer window.”

Now, Albion says that Lai, “has assured the club’s board of directors the repayment will now be made early in the new year”.

This comes after the club secured a £20m loan at an interest rate of 10% APR from US-based investment group – MSD Holdings, to finance the club’s “general business operations”. Parachute payments are also due to expire at the end of this season.

West Brom fans have spent a lot of the season protesting against Lai. A new supporter group has formed to organise peaceful protests at the stadium.

At its home game against Reading on January 2, lights were shined on the 12th minute of the second half, as well as fans coming together on Halford’s Lane at the final whistle.