Reading Football Club will appear in court on August 9th over an unpaid tax bill according to The BBC.
HMRC served the Royals a winding-up petition in June, which was issued after debts had been ignored by the Club for three weeks. If the debt can be settled before next month’s court date, it could be dismissed or withdrawn. It continues the recent crisis at the club which has resulted in fan movements such as “Sell Before We Dai” being created and putting pressure on the club.
Further EFL charges?
The English Football League has already charged the Berkshire-based outfit with multiple breaches of EFL Regulations, since their relegation from the Championship.
Charges relate to not meeting the obligation to pay players on time, or in full, on three occasions between October 2022 and April 2023, with the Club’s owner, Yongge Dai, charged with causing the Club to be in breach of EFL Regulations, despite his commitment to fund cash requirements.
These charges have since been removed from the EFL Embargo Reporting Service, however, further punishment down the line cannot be ruled out.
Reading’s winding-up petition can be removed if the debt is paid in full, or a payment plan is agreed with the Club’s creditors, HMRC.
It is the fourth time they have been issued such a petition, narrowly avoiding administration on three previous occasions.
The Royals were handed a six point deduction last season for not complying with profitability and sustainability rules, which ultimately sealed their fate of playing League One football for the first time in 21 years.
Fellow relegated side Wigan Athletic will begin the season on minus eight points, after the 2013 FA Cup winners failed to pay players’ wages when required for a sixth time.
What’s been said?
A statement from Reading CEO, Dayong Pang, prior to the EFL charges, read:
“Following the six points taken from our total, our season quickly became another very difficult one for the players, the staff and most importantly our fans.
“When we said we would fix the issues of the past and build this Club back to a level at which we all want to see it compete, we knew it was going to be a long-term project. We hoped to avoid serious setbacks like last season, but despite the very best efforts of so many, this was not possible.
“As a Club, financially, we continue to face a number of significant challenges and our owner, Mr Dai, is working very hard to resolve those issues to ensure the future of Reading Football Club is stable, successful, progressive and positive.”
Speaking to BBC Berkshire, iconic former chairman, Sir John Madejski, urged fans not to protest the ownership:
“I share the frustrations of everyone concerned.
“I’m deeply concerned, not only for the fans, but for all the wonderful people who work at Reading Football Club, who have given so much time and effort over the years.
“Running football clubs is not for the faint hearted. I don’t agree with the way it’s being run at the moment, but what I have to say is that Mr Dai has presided over Reading Football Club for six years and has put in well over £200 million.
“It’s a worry because we know he walked away from the club he owned in Belgium. He also allegedly put two clubs into liquidation in China so his track record is not good.
“I would urge the fans not to protest against Mr Dai, although they have good reason to no doubt.”
Reading’s recent demise does not only raise serious concerns for the future of the Club, but also wider football. Situations seen at Bury and Macclesfield are no longer one-off’s, and it becomes more imperative by the day that the Premier League and EFL strike a redistribution agreement to protect the football pyramid.
This has been a continued issue which does not seem to be improving. It is another year in which League One will have a club enter with financial issues and a dark cloud hanging over them. The fans of Reading FC deserve better, and as Gary from Sell Before We Dai stated on The Real EFL Podcast “This is an issue for all football fans not just fans of Reading FC”.