BusinessBusiness RecoveryYork City accuses Revenue of bullying

York City accuses Revenue of bullying

Representatives of York City Football Club and its creditors have accused the Inland Revenue of 'bullying' money out of the struggling business, amid concerns that the taxman is getting tough with Nationwide League football clubs in financial crisis.

Link: Revenue tackled over football crisis

Several of those involved in the administration process, and present at the creditors’ meetings in March including a shadow minister, have expressed shock at the attitude taken by the Revenue. The news will send a signal to other clubs in trouble that the Revenue is no longer be a soft touch.

Accountancy Age has learned that during intense creditor meetings, the Revenue demanded money from a third party – the Supporters’ Trust – that at the time had no legal connection to the club. It was also said the Revenue had changed verbal agreements without reason.

‘Having indicated that it would settle for 50p in the pound, it came to the last meeting and suddenly, it demanded another £20,000,’ said John Greenway MP, shadow minister for culture, media and sport and president of York City FC. ‘There was no good reason given for this but it said it would block the buyout of the club [by the Supporters’ Trust] if it didn’t get the money.’

‘The Revenue got wind that the Supporters’ Trust had collected nearly £60,000 to keep the club going and decided it wanted some of it,’ said one representative of creditors present at the meetings. ‘It basically told the trust to get back out there with collection buckets and get as much money as the football creditors were getting.’

The representative said the scenes at the meeting got quite ugly with ‘accusations of blackmail flying around’.

The club eventually reached an agreement with the Revenue to pay back 63p in the pound, although Leicester City recently emerged from administration having agreed to pay back just 10p in the pound. This has raised doubts over fair treatment by the Revenue and MPs have been seeking meetings with ministers to discuss the Revenue’s treatment of clubs.

The club is now in the hands of the Supporters’ Trust, which is putting together a financial plan for next season. A Revenue spokesman said legally it was not in a position to speak about individual cases.

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