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Ebbsfleet United taken to court by HM Revenue and Customs over unpaid tax bill

By Chris Price

The taxman has issued court proceedings against Ebbsfleet United over an unpaid bill.

HM Revenue and Customs issued a winding up petition against the club last week, it has emerged.

The size of the tax bill owed has not been revealed, although Ebbsfleet bosses said the issue had been resolved.

Ebbsfleet United's homeground Stonebridge Road. Picture: Google Street View
Ebbsfleet United's homeground Stonebridge Road. Picture: Google Street View

The revelation comes at a difficult time for the club, which has paid players late in seven of the last 10 months.

Fleet, who reached the National League play-offs last season, recently parted company with manager Daryl McMahon and his entire coaching staff, while four players have left the club in a bid to bring the wage bill down.

It opened a £5 million new stand in November with a new boardroom, changing area and hospitality facilities.

HM Revenue and Customs only initiates winding up actions as a last resort as a way of getting back money owed to the taxpayers.

Yet managing director David Archer explained the petition should not lead to court proceedings.

The team owner and chairman Dr Abdulla al-Humaidi
The team owner and chairman Dr Abdulla al-Humaidi

He said: "Payment is being transferred as we speak. It's all resolved.

"They know it's all being done through the procedure. It's all in hand."

The latest financial blow comes as Dr Abdulla al-Humaidi, the club's Kuwaiti chairman, has taken over personal control of his other major business interest in the area - the plans to build a £6 billion theme park on the Swanscombe Peninsula.

He has been forced to bring in a new investor to the scheme, engineering group Keltbray, which has promised to inject £25 million into the resort, which is set to create 33,000 jobs.

A statement on Ebbsfleet United's website said: "The football club is fully aware of the petition published in ‘The Gazette’ relating to a winding-up order.

"Arrangements have been in place to pay the full amount within 72 hours and as a result ensure the removal of the petition through the standard procedure for these matters."

An HMRC spokesperson said: “We do not comment on identifiable individuals or businesses.”

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