Manchester United are facing heavy criticism after they put off paying a £10 million tax bill despite being set to pay out £11 million in dividends next month to their owners, including a huge £8.5 million to the Glazer family.
Small print in United’s quarterly results reveals that they deferred their £10 million VAT bill to the UK Government for a year. Their net debt had risen by over £100 million and the Glazers were ready to pick up more than £8 million from their latest dividends.
United has been one of the most exemplary clubs during the coronavirus crisis as they refused to furlough staff, unlike Tottenham and Liverpool, who were forced into embarrassing u-turns after initially putting some of their workers into the Government’s scheme. Manchester United have also spent over £1 million on relief efforts towards the pandemic in their local area.
The club has lost around a total of £28 million and that final figure is expected to be much larger at the end of all this. This latest move they have done could undo some of that goodwill, as well as infuriate supporters as the entire bill stacked onto the government will only add to the taxpayer.
Many people believe it does not reflect particularly well on the club because ultimately it means that the Government have to borrow more money on behalf of the taxpayer, who has to pay interest on that to allow the Glazers and other shareholders to be paid £11 million.
For Manchester United fans this will only decrease the popularity of the owners. They have already had a bad reputation for the management of the club since they took over and are not making a good name for themselves during this pandemic.