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By Tony Attwood
A while ago the excellent Swiss Ramble covered Bolton. Bolton, (generally known as Notlob in these august columns), a team symbolic of all that was previously wrong with football: rotational fouling, rotational time wasting, and the snarling antediluvian himself: the Fat Slug.
But such days are gone, and this season the backwards reaching club has actually clambered up the league until new leadership – thus revealing once again that some managers can actually make it, and some are a useless bunch of old dodos.
It was the assault on the august columns by Notlobian supporters, who while obviously not sharing my sense of humour (nothing wrong there; how boring it would be if there was only once sense of humour in the multi-verse) actually failed to understand some of the basics of human interaction – that we all have different points of view, that this is a biased pro-Arsenal, pro-Wenger site, and other complex issues like that.
Anyway, Swiss Ramble recently updated the Notlob files starting with comments from the Old Stone Age (or 2003 as it is sometimes known) about needing to balance the books, and not spending lots of dosh that they didn’t have (shades of Arsenal, which I can only admire), only to end up with debts of £38m (careless) and a wages bill that went up from £5m to £21m a year.
The money comes from that off-shore paradise, the Isle of Man, which (in case you don’t know) is a British Dependency, which means it is not part of the EU nor part of the UK. It is a charming place full of tax exiles and people who think that same sex relationships are a Bad Thing (although the laws against same sex activities were repealed in 1992, same sex couples still do not have equal rights on an island that continued to birch law breaking teenagers under 1976. In fact now I come to think of it, I am surprised that the Isle of Man has not put in a successful application to run the World Cup, since they meet the humanitarian criteria required these days, but perhaps that is another story.)
Anyway the man financing Notlob is Eddie Davies, who I am sure has not beaten up anyone since being on the island, nor engaged in any other practices that the Tynwold (government) would not approve of, on the island. He is a benefactor – one of a number of such people in British football, many of whom not only think that being a benefactor is good, but also that it helps the club and the game.
It all led me on to think that what I don’t have anywhere is a list of clubs that are dependent on Benefactors, and details of how many of these Benefactors actually manage to do that most tricky of things – pay tax to the government of the UK.
There is a point here, because if a club has a benefactor who is based outside of the UK for tax purposes (rather like Top Shop, Barclays Bank, BHS, Cadburys, and other British institutions) then I am not really sure what is happening in terms of taxation, because the club has two ways out. First, it can if it wishes, make a loss, so no tax there. Second, it can move money to and fro between itself and the benefactor who is outside British jurisdiction, and so avoid tax that way.
So I just began to wonder: could Untold with its world wide resources work out which of the clubs in the EPL have overseas benefactors and which pay UK taxation. The important point about the list below is that it is totally incomplete, and probably accurate. I am asking if you could help provide more information.
I don’t have anything like the level of information I need to deal with this, but here are some thoughts:0
Chelsea: debts of over £500m and regular losses, so no tax. Backed by a Russian benefactor, so presumably no tax.
Manchester United: huge losses because of the Glazers – only relieved by the sale of Ronaldo. Glazers are themselves making losses, and are US citizens, so presumably no tax anywhere.
Liverpool: Massively loss making, and with American owners, so no UK tax I guess.
Manchester City: Mid Eastern benefactor, no profit for the club, so no tax being paid I suppose.
Tottenham Hotspur: Actually do make a profit (£18m a couple of years back, and possibly more this year, unless Ary’s dealing knock it down. So maybe the club pays tax if it is registered in England, but the benefactor in the Virgin Islands certainly doesn’t.
Fulham: A curious case, because Mr Al Fahed has repeatedly applied to be a UK citizen and thus presumably a payer of tax, but has been turned down. The club makes a loss of a few million a year, and doesn’t pay tax.
Aston Villa: A prime benefactor case in which the benefactor charges the club a high rate of interest and so makes decent money out of the club – which was presumably the reason the manager left at the start of the season. Mr Lerner is an American citizen and so presumably doesn’t pay tax.
Birmingham City: it has never been quite clear who owns the club, but it is probably a Chinese syndicate who don’t pay tax in the UK, although they have on occasion made a profit, and so have presumably paid the UK exchequer some tax.
Sunderland: Sold to an American last year, with lots of debts, so doubtful if there is any tax.
Bolton Wanderers: see notes above – debts, losses and an owner outside of UK control.
Wigan Athletic: a benefactor with honour – Dave Wheelen doesn’t take interest on his the money and has no set repayment date. No tax, but honour.
Stoke City: Stoke speak with forked whatnot. Claim they are debt free, but owe the man who owns bet365 a big fortune. don’t know if he charges interest, but there won’t be tax from the club. The question then is whether bet365 is actually registered in England – I think it is registered in Gibralter, which means no tax.
Everton: utterly dependent on the benefactor owner, who maybe pays tax here. They certainly don’t.
West Ham United: the previous owners didn’t pay tax because they were Icelandic, but the pornographers now in charge who knows. They make a loss and are still paying Sheffield United for the fraudulent way they stayed in the EPL. Does Mr Gold pay tax? I don’t know. Why don’t you ask him?
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Steve Morgan must be the envy of Aston Villa since he is owed £13m but doesn’t charge any interest. Loss making. Don’t know about Mr Morgan.
Blackburn Rovers: must be feeling a bit pissed off at having a slug in charge, but they are now owned by an Indian chicken firm, so I can’t believe there is any tax coming our way.
Newcastle United: the owner seems to be English, and although he has no regard for the regulations about drinking beer in sight of the pitch may pay tax. The club makes a loss all the time.
So overall, not much tax being paid to the UK exchequer. True, we (the citizens of the United Kingdom) get the VAT, and PAYE payments but precious little tax on profits or tax from the owners.
All updates welcome.
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