Tax crackdown pushes football clubs to brink

THE likelihood of a Scottish football club failing in the coming months remains high, accountant and football industry adviser PKF is warning.

The issue of football finance came to a head last month when HM Revenue & Customs issued Portsmouth FC with a winding-up petition. PKF said this shows that football clubs are being scrutinised for regular and timely payments of tax liabilities, VAT and PAYE.

This, coupled with falling revenues, means that cash flow remains difficult.

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Charles Barnett, a partner in PKF's football industry group, said: "It was reported earlier in the season that the Revenue was on the case with an Edinburgh club. Why should the government continue to finance clubs that live beyond their means by deferring the receipt of cash, particularly in the current environment? The government is after every penny of tax they can get just now."

Barnett refused tonamespecific teams that are likely to fail, but said there are a number of clubs in the SPL and lower divisions that are "shaky at the moment".

Receipts from ticket sales are also under pressure as unemployment bites, Barnett said. "You can still be a supporter but there's a limit to how many games you can go to if you haven't got money coming in regularly."