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Bonzo receives massive ‘Hall of Fame’ honour

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Billy Bonds has revealed his pride at being inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame.

The Club’s record appearance holder and former manager was bestowed the honour this week along with several other famous names in English football – including former Wales midfielder and manager Gary Speed, former Hammers and England midfielder Frank Lampard Jr, former Liverpool and England midfielder Steven Gerrard, and former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson.

medium_billybondsAnd speaking exclusively to whufc.com, Billy said: “It’s a great honour and I am very grateful for it. I received a letter informing me that I had been inducted in this year’s selection.

“I’m told I join the likes of George Best, Sir Stanley Matthews and Danny Blanchflower, so I couldn’t be in much greater company, and I am honoured to be among those names.

“It’s lovely for my family, and I just wish that my old dad could have been here to see it – it would have made him very proud.”

whufc.com reorts: ‘Bonzo becomes the ninth player in the Hall of Fame to have worn the claret and blue – after Bobby Moore, Martin Peters, Sir Geoff Hurst, Jimmy Greaves, Liam Brady, Stuart Pearce, Rio Ferdinand and Teddy Sheringham, with Lampard Jr following swiftly as number 10.

The National Football Museum, based in Manchester, launched the Hall of Fame awards in 2002 to celebrate and highlight the achievements of the all-time top talents to grace the game in England.

Sir Geoff Hurst, Gordon Banks, Sir Bobby Charlton, Peter Schmeichel, Roger Hunt, Kevin Keegan, Bryan Robson, Francis Lee, Trevor Francis, Ossie Ardiles, George Cohen, Norman Hunter, Sue Lopez and Marianne Spacey were all part of the selection committee this year.

To be considered for induction players must be either retired or, in exceptional cases where a playing career is still ongoing, be at least 30 years of age. All inductees must also have played or managed for at least five years in England.’

 

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Andy Carroll out again for Saturday

Slav6Slaven Bilic has confirmed the absence again of Andy Carroll for Stoke away this weekend saying it has come too soon for the crocked striker.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference.  “Mark Noble is definitely going to be back in the squad on Saturday Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as if Andy Carroll is going to make the game against Stoke. It’s come too soon.”

“With the goalkeepers, I met with both of them and they have both taken the situation really well,  Randy too.”

“We are not panicking, but none of the teams, until mathematically, are safe. Maybe we have enough, but we can’t be sure. We’re three games unbeaten, and of course the confidence is higher. It’s related to the way we are training and the games we play.”

“Arthur Masuaku was relatively unknown here and he’s done everything that position requires. He is quick and strong.”

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Former West Ham manager slams Taxman

waving sam_allardyce_1528056cFormer West Ham manager slammed HMRC as the most corrupt business in our country during undercover footage which eventually lost him the England manager job last year.

Allardyce, who has previously been investigated for his tax affairs and his involvement in a £450m tax scam and a £275m tax fraud, told reporters, “The most corrupt business in our country would be what? You’ll be shocked when I tell you this – HMRC.”

“They fly out tax demands without any real knowledge whether they should or shouldn’t. They just put ‘em out willy-nilly and if you pay them, people shit themselves and pay them.”

Clearly not a fan of the Tax man, Allardyce continued, “Most of the punters don’t owe it. In fact most of the punters, actually the taxman owes them money. But because the country’s so skint, they come to government and say we’re skint, government says we’re skint how we gonna get the money. Let’s change the laws and let’s just fly out these demands. If you invested in this tax scheme, where they pay the tax back, for investing in new businesses, or in regeneration zones, do you know what I mean, in current poverty areas.”

“But HMRC, you have to pay it back even if you don’t owe it. The most corrupt, it’s the most corrupt business in the country at the minute, HMRC.”

Last year Wayne Rooney was named and shamed that he could be liable for a £3.5million tax charge over a suspected tax avoidance scheme. The Manchester United player was said to be the largest investor in a scheme involving the film industry and the investment firm Invicta.

The 30-year-old player is one of 225 celebrities, football managers and players who jumped on the investment opportunity before the Government closed the scheme in the mid-2000s. Gareth Southgate was also being probed by HM Revenue & Customs over his involvement in an alleged tax avoidance scheme.

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Points deduction threat has no legs

CryRumours that West Ham could suffer a points deduction or even demotion from the Premier League along with newly promoted Newcastle are extremely wide of the mark. Social media went into overdrive yesterday suggesting a possible points deduction or exclusion from the Premier League for the Hammers.

The rumours were fueled by a Sun newspaper story which claimed: “West Ham and Newcastle could face points deductions if found guilty of serious tax fraud. But any punishment is likely to be years down the line given the complex nature of such investigations – and much will depend on exactly what the clubs and their past or present employees are alleged to have done.”

However, whether Newcastle and/or West Ham are found guilty of any wrongdoing with regards to their tax affairs, a points deduction is extremely unlikely and would most likely require a change of rules for future offences which would need to be agreed by the twenty member clubs.

Under current Premier League regulations points deductions are reserved for those clubs entering financial administration and/or fielding ineligible players. Rule W.54 of the Premier League rule book does describe a range of punishments that can be handed down by a disciplinary commission and that includes a points deductions and even expulsion from the league but in reality, the commission has never done so and has no appetite to do so.

HMRC say they will visit all Premier League clubs with a specialist team to investigate the wide use of image rights in potential tax avoidance and they claim the misuse of image rights is widespread in the football industry. Twelve football clubs are under investigation for tax affairs claims the Taxman which has so far refused to name and shame them.

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Taxman milks the publicity machine!

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We’ve been here before haven’t we?  …well publicised Inland Revenue warrant executions  ( commonly known among some of us with a bent for melodrama as “raids”) accompanied by the drumbeats of maximum HMRC publicity!

They couldn’t have made much more noise about it could they and the question “Why?” is easily answered – the HMRC occasionally loves  to draw attention to itself by targeting football where there is plenty of sexy coverage.

Within minutes of their arrival at Newcastle United and West Ham this morning the world knew about it via first the BBC and very quickly afterwards the HMRC themselves who amongst other things said: “This criminal investigation sends a very clear message, if you commit tax fraud you can expect to face the consequences.”

Now, excuse me but I would imagine most clear thinking individuals would know that but it’s significant that once again – as has been the case several times before –  the sexy old game of football finds itself used by the Revenue to show itself perhaps as the voice of the people. Such bullshit.

They could jut as easily have gone after  bankers, financiers, High Street brands or whoever but nope it’s football – which always generates maximum publicity.

How did the BBC get to hear about it – was it leaked; how come the HMRC statement was so quickly out there – someone, somewhere appears to be wanting to make a name for themselves.

Harry Redknapp has had his collar felt by the taxman and got off courtesy of Rosie while David Sullivan and Karren Brady were released without charge on similar issues at Birmingham after maximum publicity had been squeezed out.

This could have been done very quietly with a statement later to the Press Association simply explaining  what had been achieved without the “This criminal investigation sends a very clear message, if you commit tax fraud you can expect to face the consequences” propaganda

Someone…somewhere has their own agenda and excuse me if I’m overly cynical but in this day and age cynicism can often be spelt T R U T H!

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No Irons arrests after HMRC day of drama

stadiumWest Ham’s top brass are tonight relaxed after a day of  high drama which saw HMRC officers stage swoops on the London Stadium and Rush Green Training Centre.

The 30 or so officers arrived at 8 am but after nearly 12 hours there have been no arrests and not a single laptop, PC or portable phone has been taken away for further investigation!

The numbers of investigating officers dwindled during the day and the Rush Green complex was “free of them ” towards lunchtime whilst about ten remained at the stadium offices.

Print-outs of two or three deals were taken away as life slowly returned to normal with one insider revealing that the atmosphere is “relaxed” and we have cooperated and assisted every step of the way.

Officers visited various offices at the stadium and the club’s finance  team were thought to have been prominent in helping.

One source told us: “To be honest it felt like a huge fishing exercise, we don’t know what it’s all about to be honest but are assisting wherever and whenever asked.”

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West Ham raid could be tip of iceberg

HM Revenue and Customs form

Today’s raids by HMRC officials on West Ham and Newcastle could be the first of many as the Taxman targets football club and footballers in a new public campaign.

In a bid to tackle tax issues relating to players’ image rights, the Treasury initiated a specific football compliance project earlier this month, and has announced that technical experts will visit all English Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premier League clubs over a three-year period.

Details of the new squad were revealed in response to a public accounts committee report on the HMRC’s performance in collecting tax from high net worth individuals.

The Spring Budget 2017 announced that HMRC will publish guidelines for employers who make payments for image rights to their employees, to help employers understand how these payments should be taxed, which it says should improve compliance by clarifying what an image right is and the tests to determine whether payments can be treated as image rights payments or must be subject to PAYE as earnings.

Paul Noble, a tax investigations expert at law firm Pinsent Masons, said: ‘Football is a sport rich with money generated by sponsorship and television rights and involves many areas where tax may be at risk for HMRC and with this in mind it attracts a great deal of scrutiny and interest.’

Noble explained that sports persons and celebrity entertainers typically assign their image rights to a company.  A football club may make payments to a player’s company to license the image rights from the company to enable the club to enter into an agreement with a sponsor to enable the sponsor to use the player’s picture or name.

If the player’s company is a UK tax resident company, it will pay corporation tax on its profits from licensing the rights at 19%, under current rates, whereas the profits could be subject to income tax at 45% if received directly by the individual. A further tax saving arises from the fact that the football club will not be liable to employer’s national insurance contributions (NICs) in respect of payments to the company in respect of image rights. Many footballers will not be UK domiciled for tax purposes and will hold their image rights through a non-UK company. This may mean that the payments escape UK tax altogether.

HMRC already collects information from football clubs to assess whether the balance between pay and image rights is reasonable. Jon Thompson, HMRC chief executive, told the PAC last year that the majority, but not all, of the clubs in the Premier League, supply HMRC with this information under a voluntary agreement.

He said at the time that 43 footballers, 8 agents and 12 football clubs were under inquiry around the issue of image rights.

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Season ticket relocation process explained

seasonticketIn March West Ham announced a London Stadium Priority relocation window as part of the Season ticket renewal process to allow supporters move seats for next season.

With the season ticket renewal deadline fast approaching on 31st May the relocation window will open on Thursday 1st June and will close on Thursday 15th June.

West Ham will give priority to those who renewed their season tickets first from the first day on 13th March in strict order as long as they choose the box ‘Move seat’ during season ticket renewal to indicate that they wanted to relocate their seat.

The ticket office will call or email each season ticket in strict order of the renewal date and time to offer a relocation subject to availability. It is hoped many of these relocations will happen over the phone but supporters also have the option of meeting face to face.

At the point of confirmation of relocation, if the seat falls into a different price band, the difference in cost will either be refunded or required to be paid in full immediately.

The club claims those requesting to relocate are a small percentage of 20,800 who have already renewed their seats for next season.

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Sixty percent of season tickets to renew

TicketofficeOver 31,000 West Ham season ticket holders have yet to renew at the London Stadium with just 35 days to go until the deadline.

West Ham claimed an 18% renewal rate on the first day of the renewal period in March and Claret and Hugh have been told that since then it has further increased to 40%  renewal rate which accounts for over 20,800 of the 52,000 holders.

Current season ticket holders have until 5pm on Wednesday 31 May 2017 to renew their seats at which point their seat will be offered to another supporter on the 55,000 strong waiting list.

We have been told that the 31,000 seats which have not renewed already have been allocated to a name in the waiting list which will be offered out after the June relocation period has ended. The club insists that they will be no extension of the renewal deadline and supporters will lose their seat unless they renew before the end of the May.

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HMRC raid: The French connection

PayetmiseryFollowing well-publicised raids at Newcastle and West Ham by HMRC officials this morning it appears the investigation could centre around Marseille transfer activity and payments to agents.

West Ham purchased Dimitri Payet and Alou Diarra from Marseille in recent years and rumours suggest it is these deals are being looked into closely.

Chelsea has also been reportedly asked questions by HMRC into their transfer of  Michy Batshuayi from Marseille in the summer but has not been accused of any wrongdoing as yet.

One senior figure at Newcastle told the Financial Times this morning arrests in Newcastle relate to payments made to agents in transfer dealings, and that computers and business records had been seized by HMRC officers.  We understand no arrests were made at West Ham and no computers were removed.

Breaking news in France has suggested Marseille are implicated in the investigation, with French radio station RTL giving the breaking news that the ex-board of Marseille are also a target for HMRC.

In the year Payet was signed to West Ham agent fees paid by West Ham jumped to  £7,049,001. They rose to £9.5m for the year ending 31st January 2017 and total just under £44m since disclosure of agent fees was enforced by the Premier League in 2008.

A source at Marseille told the London Evening Standard “The belief is that organised criminal gangs targeted senior officials at the club, agents and other parties, Marseille has done a lot of high profile business with both West Ham and Newcastle in recent years, and accordingly, both British clubs are being brought into this enquiry.”