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Villa Park deal comes under FFP microscope

Newly-promoted English Premier League football club Aston Villa has come under scrutiny after it emerged that its stadium has been sold to a subsidiary company controlled by owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.

News of the deal was first reported by local media and comes following similar recent moves by Championship clubs, such as Derby County, in efforts not to breach the English Football League’s (EFL) Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

Villa returns to the Premier League in 2019-20 after three seasons spent in the Championship. The Birmingham club sealed its place in the top flight by winning the play-off final in May, with promotion seen as being crucial owing to its financial standing.

Villa posted combined losses of £50.6m (€56.5m/$63.9m) for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, with EFL rules permitting losses of up to £39m over a three-year period. The BirminghamLive website said Villa Park has been sold to club subsidiary NSWE Stadium Ltd for £56.7m.

NSWE Stadium is part of the main parent company, Recon Group UK Ltd, with NSWE the name of the investment group controlled by Sawiris and Edens which acquired Villa last summer. The Times today (Tuesday) reported that the deal is now set to come under scrutiny from the Premier League, which employs similar FFP rules to the EFL.

The newspaper said that while the club’s accounts for the year ending May 31, 2019 were signed off by the EFL as compliant with its FFP rules last month, they have yet to be authorised by the Premier League. The Times added that the Premier League is set to focus on a regulation that all deals involving their clubs must be negotiated at a fair market rate, with the true value of Villa Park now set to be assessed.

Image: Aston Villa