St Gallen saved from bankruptcy

BASEL, Nov 5 (Reuters) - St Gallen, Switzerland's oldest football club, was saved from bankruptcy on Friday when a group of private investors and a consortium of banks stepped in to clear its debts.

The club has been struggling financially since building a new stadium, the St Gallen Arena, which opened in 2008.

St Gallen said in a statement that a consortium of four banks had agreed to write off 4.8 million Swiss francs ($4.99 million) in debt while the six private investors have promised to donate a total of 10 million francs.

"We are not making a business out of this. We're idealists," Doelf Frueh, one of the six investors, told reporters. The six are providing between 2.7 million francs and one million francs each.

St Gallen, ninth in the 10-team Swiss Super League, were founded in 1879, making them one of Europe's oldest clubs.

They were crowned Swiss champions in 1904 but then had to wait another 96 years before winning the title for the second and last time. They were relegated in 2008 but bounced back at the first attempt.