English Premier League

Chinese-owned Aston Villa in crisis with unpaid US$5.6m tax bill threatening club’s existence and Tony Xia ‘ready to sell up’

Up to four takeover bids reported to being put together as various financial restrictions at home and abroad threaten the club’s Premier League dream

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 June, 2018, 12:45pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 June, 2018, 9:52pm

English Championship side Aston Villa have been handed a £4.2 million (US$5.6 million) tax bill by the UK government and have been given seven days to pay or risk facing a winding-up order and going into administration, according to reports.

The bill is the latest financial trouble to befall the Chinese-owned side and the Birmingham Mail suggests that up to four separate takeover bids are looming, while The Sun reported a British-based consortium will be the first to offer a way out for chairman Tony Xia.

The Chinese billionaire, who took over the club from American businessman Randy Lerner in 2016, is reportedly ready to sell as a number of financial restrictions make it increasingly difficult for the club to succeed in their dream of returning to the English Premier League after being relegated in 2016.

Villa lost to Fulham in the play-off final last month and Xia suggested last week that changes were coming in response to that failure.

The deal to take Villa over cost him around £60 million (US$80 million) and he has invested around £150 million (US$201 million) since, but restrictions on capital outflow make it tough for Xia to move money from China. There is no suggestion he is in financial trouble but Chinese restrictions are only one aspect of Villa’s mounting problems.

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Another such issue is decreasing parachute payments for the 2018-19 season.

Furthermore, Villa face Financial Fair Play restrictions that Xia described as “severe” in his statement last week.

The Telegraph reports that Villa were late in making their regular tax bill and will make the payment this week but failing to do so would lead to a winding-up order and the death of one of England’s oldest football clubs and the former champions of Europe.

Villa suspended chief executive Keith Wyness on Tuesday, although this is understood to be unrelated to the missed tax payment. Xia has assumed the role with immediate effect, according to a club statement.

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While John Terry has already left the club, young star Jack Grealish is expected to follow in order to recoup some cash to deal with the FFP regulations.

American Peter Freund, a minor stakeholder in the New York Yankees, has also been linked with a bid for the club.