Wrexham FC sale fears over possible tax burden

Reporter:

Garth ApThomas

FEARS have been raised that the sale of Wrexham FC could trigger a hefty taxman’s capital gains bill for the club on property development around the Racecourse ground.

Wrexham Supporters’ Trust (WST) spokesman Lindsay Jones said it was an issue concerning members and could be a further complication in the already complex business conundrum.

Currently the club’s new chairman Robert Bickerton is leading a consortium which is looking to buy Wrexham FC.

Asked by the Leader about the possible tax burden a sale might place on the club, Mr Bickerton said it was an issue that needed to be put to the current owners.

Former chairman Ian Roberts and director Geoff Moss were both unavailable for comment.

A meeting was held yesterday between WST members and Wrexham Council to look at the possibility of the community taking over ownership of the Racecourse stadium.

Mr Jones said the talks had been positive and there were further discussions planned to take place in a few weeks.

“There were no firm outcomes and this is definitely not a quick fix but the council was interested in what we had to say.

“We want the Racecourse as an asset for the community. We are willing to talk to anyone who shares our vision, such as the Football Association of Wales, Welsh Assembly and the Football Foundation.

“At present we are getting the building blocks in place and then we will go for it.”

The trust has also posted a statement on its website which paints a bleak picture of the situation facing Wrexham. It describes the last few weeks as being “one of the most turbulent times that our club has had to endure in living memory”.

It calls on Mr Bickerton to be more open in his dealings, saying: “We have spoken to Mr Bickerton and look forward to meeting him at an appropriate time.

“He has stated that he welcomes trust involvement at the club and we see this as a positive, following five years of a secretive, closed door policy.

“However, we have been disappointed with Mr Bickerton’s handling of the many questions surrounding his bid and in particular the lack of detail regarding his backers.

“We would urge Mr Bickerton to deal with this as a matter of urgency. His ownership of Wrexham FC will not progress as he would wish unless he adopts a more transparent approach.”

In response Mr Bickerton said: “I haven’t seen the website article myself. I hope the trust gets in contact with me so that we can arrange a meeting to discuss issues of interest to them.”

The trust’s website also reveals its members have been examining the financial state of the club and feels they are “a total and utter mess”.

The website reads: “The club is currently losing between £10,000 and £30,000 per week and at that level of losses is both unviable and unbuyable.

“Should the WST have been able to obtain ownership of the football club from Wrexham Village we estimate that our funding would run out in as little three months.

“However, we are prepared to work with the current and future owners on an agreed plan to return the club to profitability.

“Any owner with a realistic business plan that creates a long term sustainable future for the club will get our support.”

See full story in the Leader

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