Villa ‘could face EFL investigation’

By Graham Hill

VILLA could be at the centre of an EFL probe if Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson gets his way.

Gibson wants League bosses to put the finances of Villa, Derby and Sheffield Wednesday under the microscope.

John Percy writes in The Telegraph that The Riverside owner says they those clubs are trying to bypass FFP regulations unfairly.

Gibson has arranged a special meeting of all Championship clubs for next Wednesday.

Villa have always said they have broken no rules. They were close to going into administration last summer after owner Tony Xia spent big on bringing the likes of John Terry to the club.

Terry arrived at Villa on a free but would have commanded big wages.

When Villa did not win promotion they were left with major financial problems and were going from month to month before new backers Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris took over.

Chief Executive Christian Purslow has already said that Villa will not have FFP problems if they miss out on promotion again this season.

But Gibson is clearly not convinced.

The Telegraph says Gibson is understood to be “furious” that Middlesbrough have sold over £40 million worth of players, including Adama Traore, Ben Gibson and Patrick Bamford, to balance the books.

At the same time, in his opinion, other clubs are manipulating the rules by allocating some costs to stay in line.

Derby recently sold their Pride Park stadium to owner Mel Morris and then leased it back to ensure the club recorded a profit in their 2017/18 accounts.

But the Rams are also confident they will not face a Birmingham City style situation where they were deducted nine points this season as a punishment for overspending.

Blues boss Garry Monk said recently he would hope the EFL clamps down in the same way on other clubs who are seen to be breaking the rules.

Gibson will address the issue at next week’s meeting with representatives from the other 23 clubs, and has also contacted the EFL to register his concerns.

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