Aston Villa chief executive Keith Wyness suspended after bust-up with owners over club's financial woes
Villa’s summer has nosedived into crisis following a day which saw chief executive Keith Wyness suspended and the club threatened with a winding-up order.
It has emerged Villa are currently working with HMRC to resolve an unpaid tax bill, thought to total in the region of £4-6million, after failing to submit payment by last Friday’s deadline.
Owner and chairman Tony Xia has assumed the role of chief executive, with the club confident the issue will be quickly resolved.
Wyness’s suspension does not relate directly to the unpaid bill, though it is understood the incident brought to a head weeks of mounting friction between the CEO and Villa’s Chinese hierarchy over the club’s perilous financial state.
Failure to win promotion to the Premier League had already left Villa facing a £40million black hole in relation to Financial Fair Play.
The Express & Star understands it has also led to heightened tensions behind the scenes, with staff understood to be increasingly worried over Xia’s ability to effectively finance the club.
Xia paid £76.2million to purchase Villa from Randy Lerner two years ago following their relegation from the Premier League, making the bold promise to restore the club to the top of the European game within a decade.
But it is believed the owner, who is based in Beijing, has struggled in recent months to move his money out of mainland China.
It has emerged that, back in February, Villa cashed in on future revenue owed from the sales of Carlos Sanchez and Jordan Amavi in order to improve their immediate cash flow.
Wyness’s suspension will, meanwhile, prompt further questions over the future of manager Steve Bruce.
Xia is still considering whether to keep Bruce, of whom Wyness is understood to be a major ally, in the role.