Several football clubs, including Premier League Portsmouth began the New Year in a state of financial limbo, with reports circulating that HMRC had issued a batch of winding-up orders against clubs to recover unpaid tax liabilities. Notts County and Cardiff have also been caught in the spotlight.
Portsmouth issued a press statement pointing out that it not been formally served with any petition, adding it was “shocked and surprised this action has been taken in respect of VAT, PAYE and National Insurance Contributions which either have been, or are about to be paid, or are disputed”.
Since Ali Al Faraj bought Portsmouth in October 2009, extreme efforts have been made to agree a repayment schedule for tax liabilities inherited from the previous owner, the club said. A club spokesman said it had to issue the press statement after word was leaked to the BBC of a possible winding-up order.
The new owner has made £9.7m available to HMRC made up of £5.7m in payments £4m in unspecified securities. “It is well known that the business has been in a difficult position following former owners’ decisions and the current owner is committed to resolving this and moving forward,” the statement added. “In such a tough economic environment the club finds it hard to understand this action by HMRC.”