Troubled Aston Villa lands investment boost

The English club will receive “significant investment” from Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris and American tycoon Wes Edens.

Aston Villa narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premier League last season.   -  AFP

Aston Villa will receive “significant investment” from Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris and American tycoon Wes Edens as the Championship club tries to secure its financial status after missing out on promotion to the Premier League.

Villa owner Tony Xia spent the close-season searching for fresh investment to plug a reported GBP 40 million deficit after Villa was beaten by Fulham in the Championship playoff final last season. He had entered talks to hand over some of his control of Villa to Sawiris and Edens’ company NSWE in exchange for a cash injection.

Those discussions have concluded with Chinese businessman Xia now Villa’s co-chairman under a joint-ownership arrangement.

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Sawiris is estimated to be worth GBP 5.2 billion (USD 6.8 billion), while American financier Edens co-owns the Milwaukee Bucks NBA franchise. “I am extremely pleased to have formed a strategic partnership with Nassef and Wes. We have a common goal of delivering future success for Aston Villa and I look forward to working together to achieve this aim,” Xia said.

‘Humbling experience’

“To have come so close to achieving promotion last season was a humbling experience. In finding such strong partners as Nassef and Wes we're gearing up to fight again and bring back the success that this Club deserves and we all so want to provide it with.”

Villa missed a GBP 4 million tax payment in June, with Xia understood to have cash flow problems because of strict rules about money leaving his native China. The club eventually reached an agreement with HM Revenue and Customs over the payment soon afterwards.

The deal has been ratified by the English Football League and comes after Villa, which was relegated from the top-flight in 2016, faced the prospect of having to sell star players like Jack Grealish. This forthcoming season will be the last of Villa’s parachute payments following relegation from the Premier League, which cost the club around GBP 160 million in revenue.

Villa recorded losses of GBP 80.7 million during the campaign which saw the club’s first relegation in 29 years.

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