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  1. #1
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    Hans Mann's Avatar
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    Aston Villa FC sold to Chinese Businessman


    Newcastle's Chancel Mbemba up against Aston Villa's Jordan Ayew during a Premiership match at Villa Park this month

    A Chinese businessman has agreed to buy Aston Villa, marking the second time in just over six months that Chinese investors have put money into English football.

    The Birmingham-based team, which has just been relegated from the Premier League, said on Wednesday that Recon Group, a privately owned company controlled by Tony Jiantong Xia, had agreed to acquire 100 per cent of the club.

    The deal, for an undisclosed amount, requires the approval of the Premier League and the Football League. It would mark the end of a two-year sale process by Randy Lerner, the US billionaire who also owned the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns until 2012.

    Mr Lerner has sunk tens of millions of pounds into Aston Villa since taking control in 2006 only to see the club’s fortunes plummet, making his experience a vivid reminder of the risks associated with owning a sports franchise in a league where teams can be relegated to lower divisions.

    Villa’s relegation means the club will miss out on the bonanza of the Premier League’s largest television rights deal — £5.1bn over the next three seasons.

    According to a profile of Mr Xia, posted on the Aston Villa website, Recon Group has controlling interest in five publicly listed companies on the Hong Kong and Chinese stock markets.

    Recon Group is described as a “multinational conglomerate operating in six core business sectors” including infrastructure, health, agriculture and transport.

    In a rambling statement on the club’s website, entitled “Goodbye to all that . . .” Mr Lerner wished Mr Xia “every success going forward”. He described Mr Xia as “a hugely successful businessman” and added that “importantly for me he is passionate about architecture, site design and planning”.

    The club said in a statement that Mr Xia’s “immediate objective is to return Aston Villa to the Premier League”, targeting a top six finish with a view to “bringing European football back to Villa Park”.

    The statement added that Mr Xia “became a fan of Aston Villa many years ago” and that he planned to “make Aston Villa the most famous football club in China, with a huge fan base”.

    The deal comes as Chinese investors pour money into leisure and entertainment assets globally, with football being specifically identified as a key target by Xi Jinping. the country’s president.

    Mr Xi, an avid football fan, visited Premier League club Manchester City when he was in the UK last October.

    In December, a consortium of Chinese investors paid $400m for a 13 per cent stake in Manchester City. Elsewhere in Europe, Dalian Wanda, a property and entertainment conglomerate, acquired a 20 per cent stake in Atlético Madrid.

    This article has been amended since publication to reflect that Randy Lerner no longer owns the Cleveland Browns.

    Aston Villa sold to Chinese businessman - FT.com

  2. #2
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    chassamui's Avatar
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    They will be bidding for aging PL players like Defoe, Terry and Jagielka and a sprinkling of Chinese players. Treating it like the Chinese MLS franchise.

  3. #3
    Member Baas Babelaas's Avatar
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    Good way to launder your dirty money. Clever Chinny Chin Chins.

  4. #4
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    ^It's nothing new in the EPL. Abramovich used Chelsea FC to launder plundered money out of Russia. He fukced up the international transfer fees for a while, paying 20-25% over the odds for players; which is pretty good for laundering rates, tbh.

  5. #5
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    Mr Lerner has sunk tens of millions of pounds into Aston Villa since taking control in 2006
    My spidey senses tell me it's the complete opposite.

  6. #6
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    Wish somebody would buy the bloody TOON from those cockney wankers


  7. #7
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    So we can look forward to Brummies complaining about bad driving and people shitting on buses. Actually, thinking about it, he could have bought West Brom then no-one would notice any difference.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat cyrille's Avatar
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    Buying the vile, doomed as they are to years in the Championship, is a considerably cheaper deal than buying an established Premiership team such as West Brom.

    Thank you Tim Sherwood.

  9. #9
    Fresh Seaman CaptainNemo's Avatar
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    51% of all footy clubs should be owned by a fans shareholder group - they are cultural assets, not supermarket products.

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