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SBD Global/November 8, 2012/FinancePrint All
Scottish Premier League club Heart of Midlothian FC "could become the second Scottish club to go to the wall this year" after it warned fans that it "might not survive the month in the wake of a winding-up order over a tax bill of almost £450,000 ($719,000)," according to Neil Gardner of the LONDON TIMES. The SPL club, founded in 1874, "issued a plea for 'emergency backing'" after confirming action by the U.K. tax authority HMRC at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. The club said that it was "attempting to negotiate a payment plan with the tax authority over the matter" but warned that this was not a "bluff" or "scaremongering" as it attempts to avoid the fate of Rangers, which were liquidated this summer. Despite earlier attempting to calm supporters’ fears, it later asked supporters to find the money to see the club through the crisis in an appeal described as "not so much a request as a necessity" (LONDON TIMES, 11/7). The SCOTSMAN reported that "the news came as it emerged that a petition by the tax authority was presented to the Court of Session in Edinburgh to place the SPL club into liquidation earlier this month." The Tynecastle club is understood to be facing the action from HMRC over unpaid pay-as-you-earn tax (PAYE) and National Insurance dating back several months, "which is separate from their ongoing troubles with the tax authority" (SCOTSMAN, 11/7).
Online gambling group Betfair "has withdrawn its online sports betting exchange in Germany, blaming the country's gambling tax regime for making its main product unviable," according to Simon Goodley of the London GUARDIAN's Market Forces Live Blog. The company "has been arguing with German tax authorities that its main product should not attract the 5% tax on stakes, as it does not actually take bets but allows punters to bet with each other." Shares in the group "initially slumped on the news -- although they have recovered since and are trading slightly down on the day" at around £7.5 ($12). The company floated in '10 at £13 a share on the back of a growth strategy that included geographic expansion. Betfair said that "the remaining part of its business in Germany, which includes poker, casino and more traditional fixed-odds betting, would now be minimal following the withdrawal of the product" (GUARDIAN, 11/7). WETTZENTRALE.net reported that Betfair "will shut down its German-based online sports betting website on Friday" (WETTZENTRALE.net, 11/7).
La Liga club Sevilla will present at its next shareholder meeting losses of €15M ($19.1M), according to Curro Tello of MUNDO DEPORTIVO. The meeting, scheduled for Dec. 5, will mark the first time that Sevilla President José María del Nido presents negative numbers since he arrived at the Andalucia club in '02. The bad results of the first team, which was eliminated in the first round of European competition the past two years, and not having qualified for either of this season's European tournaments, "has significantly reduced the revenue" of the club. Nido will present a balance sheet at the meeting showing €83M in revenue for the past season, but losses that reached €98M (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 11/7).