The Board of Directors were extremely concerned by the ill-informed and inaccurate headlines that appeared in the Press on 1 December 2020. The following information seeks to clarify the position and is intended to reassure shareholders with regard to the club’s financial strength.
To provide some context, in October we asked our auditors (Azets) to review a number of our business operations. This was part of our strategy to review all operations and enhance governance across the Club. One area which we asked them to consider was the status of a number of staff that we had hitherto classified as self-employed. Azets prepared a report for the Board which was received in November and concluded that, on balance, some of our staff ought to be treated as employees who would be subject to PAYE. The report makes it clear that the question of whether or not someone is self-employed or employed is a complex one in any business. In our case there are a number of factors which point either way.
Following on from this report, and in an attempt to gain clarity, we decided to self-refer the matter to HMRC for their view. HMRC were contacted by telephone on Friday 20 November and have since confirmed verbally that we should make the necessary changes to the status of the relevant employees going forward. Action is underway to make these changes. We have acted on a proactive basis and co-operated fully with HMRC.
Understandably we wanted to have their definitive view on this before we held the AGM.
The Azets report also highlighted a number of risks within the Club’s operations. It was decided to engage an independent firm of Accountants to check that none of these risks had resulted in loss. We appointed Gerber Landa & Gee (GLG), a firm highly experienced in professional football club finances, and are delighted to confirm that no evidence of any loss was found. GLG have further confirmed that the changes in process implemented should ensure that the risks previously highlighted have been addressed.
The Board of Directors trusts that the foregoing corrects any misunderstanding caused by ill-informed and inaccurate press reports.