Judge Grants Southend United More Time to Clear Tax Debt Amidst Winding-Up Threat

A judge has extended the deadline for non-league football club Southend United to settle a £275,000 tax debt.

However, the judge warned that the club could still face winding-up proceedings within the upcoming weeks.

The case was heard by Judge Sebastian Prentis in the Insolvency and Companies Court at the Rolls Building in central London.

The hearing was prompted by a winding-up petition issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Despite the club’s total debt of over £1 million, the judge expressed that he would have ordered winding-up had the case not involved a football club.

Reconsideration Date Set: October 4

Judge Prentis announced that the case will be revisited on October 4.

He emphasized that if the outstanding debts are not settled by then, the club will indeed be wound up.

Southend chairman Ron Martin informed the judge that the club is currently in the process of being sold, requesting additional time.

Martin expressed confidence that the sale will conclude by October and that funds will be available to pay off creditors.

He assured the court that both players and staff are receiving their due payments.

Earlier in the summer, other judges had adjourned hearings based on the expectation of an impending sale.

Special Considerations for a Football Club

Judge Prentis acknowledged the unique attachment football clubs hold to their fans.

He stated, “If this were not a football club, with the particular attachment to its fans … I would be winding it up today.”

The judge emphasized the urgency to resolve the matter and cautioned Mr. Martin that if the debts remain unsettled, winding-up proceedings would proceed on the scheduled date.

HMRC has previously issued several winding-up petitions against Southend due to unpaid taxes over the past years.

Notably, Southend had already been involved in an Insolvency and Companies Court hearing in March, triggered by an earlier winding-up petition from HMRC.

This debt had been cleared, as reported by another judge during the hearing.

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