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Page last updated at 08:45 GMT, Friday, 23 July 2010 09:45 UK

Sheffield Wednesday served winding up order by HMRC

Sheffield Wednesday stadium Hillsborough

Sheffield Wednesday have been served a winding up order by HM Revenue and Customs over an unpaid tax bill.

The action by HMRC relates to an outstanding PAYE balance which amounts to £550,000.

The club, who remain confident that the outstanding debt can be paid, will appear at the High Court on 11 August.

A club spokesman said: "We have been involved in dialogue with HMRC for a number of weeks. As such, we are disappointed by their decision."

He added: "Sheffield Wednesday would like to inform supporters their club is not about to be wound up.

"We understand that HMRC is taking a tougher line in general with football clubs, but feel their actions are disproportionate and will raise unnecessary speculation as to the financial situation of the club.

This move is deeply unhelpful in every respect and I hope that HMRC will move immediately to allay fears and to find a sensible solution

David Blunkett, MP, for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough

"We can inform supporters that the club, working in partnership with the Co-operative bank and their advisors, will seek to settle this matter as soon as practical."

The Co-operative bank has also issued a statement: "It is disappointing to note that HMRC has presented a winding up order in respect to Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.

"The Co-operative bank has been working extremely hard for some time with representatives of the football club and investors to explore ways to ensure its future stability.

"At present we are continuing to enter in to dialogue with our advisers, Sheffield Wednesday Football Club and potential investors to explore solutions which will allow the club to operate on a sound and secure financial footing for the future."

Former home secretary and MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough David Blunkett added that he had concerns over HMRC's actions.

"Quite simply, this move is deeply unhelpful in every respect and I hope that HMRC will move immediately to allay fears and to find a sensible solution," he said.

"Action of this kind can only cause both deep distress to the fans and the club's management, and undermine the club's efforts to obtain substantial funding for future development."

Blunkett added: "I will be in immediate touch with Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, as I would for any other enterprise in my constituency, to offer every possible assistance, including intervention with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs."

Wednesday are the latest club in England's top four divisions to be hit with financial problems, after Portsmouth became the first Premier League side to face administration in February with debts of around £70m.

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Gloss

The Fratton Park side, who currently only have 18 players registered after a series of departures from the club, are currently facing an HMRC appeal against the club's Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) which could force them to remain in administration after the start of the Championship season.

Fellow Championship side Cardiff City faced their fifth winding up order in June to settle a £1.9m tax bill, before it was eventually withdrawn after an instalment was paid.

However the club now face another winding up order at the High Court on 11 August, over a new HMRC debt of £1.3m.

Preston North End also faced a winding up petition in May after being 20 days overdue in paying their tax and national insurance liabilities to HMRC.

This was then paid, and the petition dismissed, but the club subsequently received further notification over an unpaid PAYE liability due on June 19, which has also since been paid.

Elsewhere League Two club Southend look set to face two trips to the High Court in August over debts.

An administration hearing at the High Court on 2 August was brought over an HMRC tax bill of £238,710, and the club will return to London to face a winding up order over a separate debt owed to Charterhouse Finance on 11 August.

The Owls, who were relegated to League One last season, were involved in takeover talks in January with Chicago-based investment company Club 9 Sports, but no agreement between the two parties was made.



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see also
Strafford resigns as Owls chief
17 May 10 |  Sheff Wed
Strafford attacks Palace regime
28 Apr 10 |  Championship
Owls end Club 9 Sports interest
19 May 10 |  Sheff Wed
Chicago investors looking at Owls
29 Jan 10 |  Sheff Wed
Wednesday seek investment in US
06 May 09 |  Sheff Wed


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