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- The owner of an English soccer team might have to give his club away for free in exchange for a buyer willing to take on the club’s debts.
- It is a stunning fall in monetary value for the club, but one that matches the team’s on-field for performance.
The owner of the English soccer club Sunderland A.F.C., Ellis Short, is prepared to give his team away for free to a buyer willing to take on the club’s debt, according to a report from Richard Conway in the BBC.
The club’s debt currently sits at £137.3 million pounds (US$192 million) according to the most recent reports.
“It marks a stunning fall in value with Short believed to have set an asking price of £170m as recently as late 2016, when the club was still in the Premier League,” Conways says.
“It is believed Short – together with Sunderland’s American-based board member Per Magnus Anderson – have held talks with several prospective buyers in recent months. Discussions are believed to be continuing but no solid agreement for a sale has yet been reached.”
Sunderland was relegated from the English top flight after finishing dead last in the Premier League last year, and the club currently sits at the bottom of the table in the English Championship and at risk of getting relegated again to League One next year.
Being sold for free would be a fittingly ignominious end to Short’s ownership tenure of the club, which peaked with a 10th place Premier League finish in 2011 and and has fallen steadily down the English football ladder ever since.