Aston Villa have reached an agreement with the tax authorities to stave off the immediate threat of administration.
Sky Sports News understands HMRC are content with an arrangement whereby the club pays £1.2m by the end of this week – around half of the money it owes in unpaid tax – after an immediate payment of £500,000 was made earlier on Wednesday.
As a result, HMRC has shelved its plans to issue legal proceedings against Villa, via a winding up order in the High Court.
The club have given guarantees that a further £700,000 will be paid before the weekend, and are working on a short-term solution to their cash flow issues, so that the remaining £1.2m can be paid quickly, and to HMRC’s satisfaction.
“Aston Villa Football Club can confirm that an agreement has been reached with HMRC and the club will continue to fulfil its obligations,” read a statement released by the club on Thursday.
“The club can also announce that there are no insolvency practitioners or administration advisors working with the club.
“Owner and Chairman Dr Tony Xia would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank supporters during this difficult and unsettling time and reassure them plans are now being put in place to move the club forward.”
It is thought the club are confident that in the longer term they will be able to pay all of their bills and make the accounts sustainable again, though this may involve the sale of some of their better players.
Part of the cash flow problem is related to the fact that Villa are not currently earning any matchday income in the close season, though they have sold 17,000 season tickets.
It has also emerged, following discussion with confidential sources, that – whilst Villa’s owner, Tony Xia, is prepared to sell the club for the right price – his preferred option is to find new investors to work alongside him, so that he remains in overall control.