Writer: Red Army Comrade
Date:Friday August 6 2010
As a football fan of many years now I have come to learn many things about football in this country, the fact that commercialism and the top 4 are slowly decaying clubs at the lowest points of the football league and below, and the fact that there is little loyalty in today`s game.
But on the 5th of august I learnt another very alarming fact, football has become the new modern day banking system for corruption where the gravest of crimes are bailed out by corrupt executives.
Going into yesterday as a Saint`s fan I had a very mixed view on the Portsmouth vs HMRC case, part of me admittedly wanted to see them go out of business; not because of hate mind you but a sense of injustice and the sound belief that they should pay for their crimes.
But part of me also thought about the fans, whom many are actually genuine supporters who don`t care much for a rivalry stemmed from docking strikes, strikes that very few of us were actually in.
So an odd dilemma, Play up Pompey or PAY up Pompey?
I decided to take the latter of 2 opinions and say that I hoped HMRC won, not because I`m not a true football supporter but because of precedent and what a Portsmouth win could mean for the future of a declining sport.
A victory for Portsmouth would be a case of one football club defeating the government, the greatest power in this country being powerless to place justice upon one football club for operating a 'tax sham` - A very scary concept indeed.
Even the banks pay their taxes as do wealth funds and other very influential businesses, but a football club can pay 20% or less in some cases - Crystal Palace would be a prime example.
If one business that carries so much debt and owes so much tax with so little revenue is able to win a court case against the tax man bringing them to justice, you could say that football has become the new banking.
I spoke to some Portsmouth fans I know and they said it was a victory for football, well it`s a victory for the supporters most definitely, a victory for the football league, the Premier League and the FA.
But then the Premier League are the ones who have continually increased parachute payments and trying to get clubs to play abroad, something that is only good for those at the top rather than those at the bottom.
I for one don`t believe it is a victory for football, but a very stark warning for what is to come in the very near future. If one club gets away with owing hundreds of millions and putting money in tax havens, what is to stop other clubs from waking up and smelling the coffee?
Portsmouth have run themselves into huge debt but their biggest punishment is relegation from the Premiership, something that is less harsh these days thanks to over inflated parachute payments which basically reward failure.
They were on the brink of relegation before the takeover in the first place by the Russian. So hardly a big loss.
Points deductions? Again an obsolete punishment considering they were already practically relegated, the -9 making little difference and only confirming their relegation earlier.
They also get to start this campaign on 0 points, I`m sure the executives at PFC aren`t too angry with that outcome.
Considering Luton town were given a 30 point deduction and the Likes of Leeds suffering similar punishments, you have to wonder whether Palace and Portsmouth were given very light sentences.
Though Portsmouth have something that Leeds and Luton didn`t have, the protection of Mr Scudamore changing every rule that could have inflicted punishment.
I can understand the joy of Portsmouth fans, after all they have done nothing but be supporters of their club and I`m sure that even they are disgraced at what has happened to their club, paying back the charities was just one of the many things they did to show their dismay, so with rivalry aside the fans are blameless.
But they must realise that beyond the sentiments and the 'Pompey spirit` what their club has done is evade justice and break the laws that we all follow.
After all, if I phoned up my accountant tomorrow and said I was going to pay 20p in the pound on my tax bill, something tells me they wouldn`t be that sympathetic.
Date:Friday August 6 2010
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