Media: Clubs want Premier League to ban Aston Villa’s stadium sale

3 July 2019

villa
Photo: Getty Images Villa are being investigated by the Premier League after selling Villa Park to NSWE Stadium Limited for £56.7 million in May.

With the revelation that Aston Villa are being investigated by the Premier League after selling their stadium, Villa Park, clubs want the association to ban the sale according to media.

Without the stadium sale, Villa would have broken FFP rules, which last year saw Birmingham City punished with a nine-point deduction.

Peter Høyer ph@offthepitch.com

Several clubs are suggesting to the Premier League that Aston Villa’s stadium sale should be banned. According to The Times, Villa are being investigated by the Premier League after selling Villa Park to NSWE Stadium Limited for £56.7 million in May, and even though the media source does not disclose which clubs or how many are involved, they write that they are calling for the association to take action. 

The club would have broken the rule limiting losses to £39 million over three years, if they did not sell the stadium. 

The reason for all the fuss is that the Villans avoided possible FFP-related punishment - the club would have broken the rule limiting losses to £39 million over three years, if they did not sell the stadium. 

The Premier League’s spending limits are aligned with the EFL’s, who last year enforced the rules by punishing Birmingham City with a nine-point deduction for breaching the spending limit. 

It appears that several clubs want the Premier League to prohibit "colourful cash injections" like those arising from sale-and-leaseback agreements, but the association’s investigation will aim to determine whether the stadium’s buyer (a company belonging to the club’s owners, Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens) paid a fair market price.

The association’s investigation will aim to determine whether the stadium’s buyer paid a fair market price.

Other clubs have used the same loophole as Villa: Derby have sold and leased back stadiums to avoid punishments and Sheffield Wednesday are understood to do the same too. One club executive told The Times that if the Premier League does nothing, it will effectively be allowing clubs to cheat in order to win promotion.