Portsmouth Football Club have, in common with the majority of other UK football clubs, been subject to a thorough and lengthy review into all our wage and salary staff payments made over the past four-and-a-half years, with specific reference to National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates. This review covered the period April 2013 to December 2017.
We have openly and positively engaged with HMRC in good faith to determine whether any of our staff have been paid under the NMW threshold. It is important for supporters to realise that during this period, the club have paid a total of £24.2 million in salaries and employed a total of 2,900 staff members, with an average of 380 employed at any one time.
Following this review, HMRC questioned our interpretation of part-time coaches being paid a set fee for their training sessions and attending games in line with all similar-sized and structured clubs.
We had considered that for this group of employees, getting to and from their place of work was the responsibility of the employee. However, HMRC have made it clear that their interpretation of this component should form part of the employees’ working hours.
As a result of this interpretation, and due to the uneven spread of football matches over the course of a season, when individual months are then reviewed in isolation it has subsequently resulted in a few small individual under-payments in the period. Specifically, ten members of staff during this four-and-a-half-year period were underpaid a total of £741, which we have re-paid to all the staff involved. In addition, we have paid a penalty of £715.
Despite us disagreeing with the assessment criteria above, we fully accept the HMRC decision and will revise all our policies so that that we avoid such anomalies in the future.