Five-a-side footballers faced with price rises
FIVE-a-side footballers across the country could be forced to pay more money each time they play if new VAT proposals from the government are passed.
Under the proposals, HMRC would start to tax the 150 plus sites around the country offering all-weather pitches at the standard rate.
Until now the fees have been waived because the leagues provide a social good, but HMRC says they should always have been paying tax.
If the proposals are passed then companies that run leagues, such as Power League in Slough, would potentially be faced with millions of pounds to pay in tax bills.
And subsequently the leagues would be forced to pass some of the cost to players, meaning around an increase of £1 a session per person.
That could lead to a decrease in the number of players taking part in five-a-side, which, a spokesman for Power League told the Slough Observer, does not fit in with the government's plan to get more people active.
"It doesn't exactly go side by side with the initiative when the plans would force players to pay more for playing each week.
"We are in a difficult economic climate at the moment and we would try to pass as little on to players as possible but obviously we would need to find the extra money from somewhere."
The increase would be another burden to the one million plus footballers who take part in "small-sided" football, including five-a-side, once a week in England.
And as well as the grievance that this is a proposal sprung out of the blue by HMRC after almost 20 years of leagues not paying tax, the leagues question just how much the government would raise from the plans.
"The amount they would get is nothing in comparison to the amount they get elsewhere," said a spokesman for Power League. "They could get the same from taxing certain individuals I would think."
A statement from Power League also added: "We also believe the changing approach from HMRC might impact the future growth rate of new centres and, in many areas, will render investment unviable in such facilities, thereby significantly reducing opportunities for future participation in sports."
It is not yet known when a final decision will be made about the proposals but players wishing to oppose the changes can sign a petition started by the Daily Telegraph.
To sign the petition and for more information visit www.telegraph.co.uk/fiveaside.
WHAT ARE YOUT THOUGHTS ON THE PROPOSALS? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW.
This article appeared in Local Berkshire 20 Jul 12