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Aston Villa 'planning for relegation'

Aston Villa chief executive Tom Fox admits that the struggling side are planning for life in the Championship next season.

Aston Villa's chief executive Tom Fox has revealed that the troubled club has begun to plan for the possibility of life in the Championship in the 2016-17 season.

The Midlands side have made their worst start to a Premier League season ever and are rooted to the bottom of the table with a return of just six points from their first 16 games.

Villa have been an ever-present since the Premier League's inception and are second only to Everton in terms of all-time duration in the top flight, with 104 seasons, but face a real possibility of dropping down to the second tier of English football this campaign.

"We have taken significant steps to ensure we can cope financially," said Fox, who revealed that players and backroom staff had paycut clauses in their contracts for the event of relegation. "It is certainly not what we want and it is certainly not a lesson that this club needs to learn to get better but Aston Villa Football Club is bigger than the results in any one season.

"Aston Villa Football Club does not go away if we are relegated.

"We play football next August and we hopefully do it with an organisation that is prepared to compete and to succeed and to come right back up."

Despite planning for the Championship, Fox claimed that the club had "not given up", with manager Remi Garde adding that owner Randy Lerner - who is currently attempting to sell the side - was 'very concerned' by their predicament.

"Of course he is concerned," said Garde. "He is very much concerned. He suffered a lot because of the situation of this football club. He is totally committed to the football club.

"He wants first in the short term that we try to be safe in the Premier League, but then as the owner of the club, he has a longer view, he has to."

Villa travel to a resurgent Newcastle United for Saturday's evening kickoff in the Premier League.

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Remi Garde, Manager of Aston Villa gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Villa Park on November 8, 2015 in Birmingham, England.
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Friday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

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