HMRC have long been at a disadvantage when dealing with football clubs. The existing ‘football creditor’ rule means that on the insolvency of a football club all football debts are paid first before others, such as HMRC, can get a look in. With footballers’ salaries with the top flight clubs at the level they are HMRC can be owed some very material figures when a football club goes bust.
In its latest attempt to challenge a rule that HMRC have always felt to be unfair they took their case to the High Court last year. The judge was not swayed by the arguments HMRC put forward and ruled that the rule should remain.
HMRC has initialy decided not to appeal the ruling at this time saying “it would not be in the interests of the taxpayer”.
There is however scope for further actions with Justice Richards sympathising with HMRC “The Football League should not regard the result of this case as an endorsemnt of its approach to football creditors. It is, as I said at the start, a decision on a challenge brought on a particular legal basis” he said.
So, it would appear that the battle is won but potentially the war is far from over. We might yet see this spat going to extra time and penalties!!