Cash-strapped Aston Villa owner Tony Xia clears way for share sale

June 21 – Aston Villa owner Tony Xia looks certain to either sell the club or a substantial stake in order to raise the £40 million needed to stay within financial fair play rules.

Owned by the Recon Group, Xia is listed as the only shareholder. A restriction on the sale of shares has been lifted according to Companies House documents.

It has been reported that three UK-based groups have shown an interest in buying Villa, but it is also believed that Xia is looking for new money from China. Xia paid £76 million for Villa to American Randy Lerner in 2016.

Xia gambled heavily at Villa, investing in his playing squad, including former England captain John Terry, to return to the Premier League but losing out in the play off final by a goal to Fulham. That saw Villa miss out on a guaranteed £160 million of revenue.

Aston Villa is now in the last year of parachute payments from the Premier League following relegation in 2016. The club will receive £16 million this season.

The club’s most pressing issue at the moment is a tax payment due to UK authorities due at the end of this week. Earlier this month the club missed a £4 million payment but reached a payment plan deal with HMRC tax collectors.

Aston Villa has moved to cut costs, releasing a number of high salaried players including Terry. The club is also likely to have to sell key players, including star attacking midfielder Jack Grealish who is valued at about £30 million.

One issue outstanding for Villa is a potential compensation payment of up to £6 million to former chief executive Keith Wyness who is suing the club for constructive dismissal.

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