HMRC Go For The Jugular, And The Clubs Only Have Themselves To Blame


Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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10 Responses

  1. Martin says:

    The football authorities had the chance to nip this nonsense in the bud with franchise, Exeter, Leeds, Chester etc. but they declined to do so because they dislike the taxman as much as everyone else.

    It’s not the most mature attitude to take for a supposedly “big business” and is bound to come back to haunt them and the whole sport.

  2. Micky F says:

    The question has to be asked why the government themselves removed the HMRC’s preferred creditor status? Doesn’t HMRC work for the government collecting tax on their behalf? A bewildering decision which doesn’t seem to make any sense and has led to HMRC blocking all football CVA’s on principle.

  3. NottyImp says:

    I’d echo Mick’s comment – an open invitation for businesses (not just football clubs) to abuse the tax system. It also leaves HMRC with the expensive and time-consuming option of having to go to court. Bewildering is the word.

    Excellent, article, btw. Don’t expect anything to happen, however.

  4. M Smith says:

    Thanks for this interesting article!

    Good point and I do agree : “All of this brings us back to the question of whether it is right that HMRC should pursue football clubs this aggresivlely, and the answer to this is, of course, “yes”. Football seems to continue to exist in a world in which all that ever matters is what happens on the pitch.”

    Here’s a supplementary article about HMRC as well : HMRC most likely to wind up firms –>

  5. Chris says:

    So the football clubs are arranging to give priority the football debts once a club goes into administration to protect the ‘competitive balance’?

    How is this ‘competitive balance’ maintained by allowing clubs to pay millions more in wages than they have by going into debt and then writing it all off again for a 10 point deduction. I just can’t see how this is competitive or fair for clubs that do live within their means. If you only spend what you have you are at a distinct disadvantage.

    It really rankles to see clubs that have gone into administration return stronger and leave the clubs that lived within their means in their wake having written off millions in debts – especially when it is public money.

  6. Micky F says:

    Chris, that is a very narrow view of the situation. 10 points is only the punishment for going into Admin, most clubs have also been deducted points for coming out without a CVA due to HRMC blocking these on principle. Leeds got 15 points, Rotherham & Bournemouth 17 points and Luton got 20 points. Hardly a light punishment, especially for Luton as their deductions have cost them two relegations and their place in the Football League.

    The only 2 clubs who have got round this recently have been Stockport & Darlington, both of whom are now floundering at the bottom of their divisions. I don’t think you could argue that they returned stronger from Administration.

    Yes, it is unfair for clubs to spend beyond their means but these days no club gets off scot free like they used to just a few years back. Remember Leicester getting promoted to the Premier League whilst in Admin? Then there was Ipswich who wrote off 30 million in debt without suffering a single point deducted. Despite this David Sheepshanks had the nerve to sit on the panel that decided to hand Luton their 20 point penalty.

    The current system might not be perfect but you can’t say that any club gets away with wiping out debt without wearing some punishment these days.

  7. oftenscore6 says:

    I think it’s worth pointing out that in non-league, if you exit without a CVA (ie liquidate and reform), it’s an automatic 2 division minimum demotion. It’s regularly questioned whether even that is enough – but I think it’s even more galling when the team reforms in the same division they were in, as happens in League football!

    League clubs taking a harder line on themselves though? Won’t happen until someone goes bust mid-season IMO.

    I’m all for HMRC being a preferred creditor again. If not legally, then make it a FA rule.

  8. M Smith says:

    Here’s another supplementary read :) :—losing-my-belief-in-the-british-justice-system.aspx

    BN66 – losing my belief in the British Justice System

    Actually that is not quite true. I lost my faith in the British Justice system years ago after going through the family courts where they interpretted the law in the exact opposite of the spirit it was originally intended.

  1. January 10, 2010

    […] HMRC Go For The Jugular, And The Clubs Only Have Themselves To Blame “The cold air that is whistling through football isn’t solely as a result of the recent wintry weather. HMRC are on the move, and their aim is to recoup taxpayers’ money from football clubs that haven’t been paying their bills. They have been busy since the start of the season, having already extinguished Kings Lynn, agreeing a last minute payment plan with Rochdale and forcing a change of ownership at Accrington Stanley, where over £300,000 had to be found – new owner Ilyas Khan, at the last minute, paid £110,000 and stood as guarantor for the remainder. HMRC have also been after a number of non-league clubs, although Kings Lynn were the only terminal casualties.” (twohundredpercent) […]

  2. February 10, 2010

    […] Hundred Percent, a month ago, foresaw today’s events, with three clubs now facing a final chance to pay the taxman or go […]

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