Manchester United, whose revenues are among the largest in the sporting world, was left laden with debt after a controversial £790m takeover by American tycoon Malcolm Glazer and his family in 2005.
The takeover provoked hostility among fans, who were angered by Manchester United falling under foreign ownership and one of the world's richest football clubs being burdened with hundreds of millions of debt.
The club has always insisted the debt is manageable because its operating profits, which were £72m in 2008, covers its annual interest payments, £69m in 2008.
However, the debt includes £175m of payment in kind (Pik) loans that are rolling up interest at a rate of 14.25pc a year. The loan, for which the Glazer family, rather than the football club, is ultimately responsible, was initially worth just over £130m and is from two American hedge funds, Perry Capital and Citadel.
The remaining loans, which are secured against the club, are worth £519m, with an average life of just over seven years.
The Glazers pushed through a refinancing of the debt in 2006, which was aimed at making the funding more long term. However, the squeezing of available credit since then has made refinancings difficult and potentially more expensive for companies, although there is no immediate pressure for Manchester United to consider such measures.
The owners of Liverpool, Americans George Gillett and Tom Hicks, underwent lengthy negotiations with Wachovia and Royal Bank of Scotland before they secured a £350m deal last summer.
A spokesman for Manchester United declined to comment.