Plans to tax five-a-side football leagues would have ‘big impact’

PLANS to tax those running five-a-side football leagues would have a “big impact”, according to a business directly affected.

The treasury said last week that leagues hiring from companies which provide artificial pitches are not exempt from 20 per cent VAT although some, including Stevenage Football Academy, currently do not pay the tax.

The levy would typically add �1 to a �4.50 cost of playing in a five-, six- or seven-a-side match if leagues do not cover the extra costs themselves.

“If it goes through the price will have to go up to cover it,” said Dawn Lawrence, facilities manager at the academy in Broadhall Way.

“Twenty per cent is going to be a little bit hard to swallow as our prices haven’t gone up in five years. It’s going to have a big impact. People are still finding it really hard to keep their own finances in order so that’s why we’ve tried to help a bit by not increasing our prices.


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“It would have a huge effect and we’ve seen a big decline in kids and adults playing year-on-year.”

Ms Lawrence added that any decision on future costs would be made by the board.

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Baldock resident Grant Harknett, who uses the Stevenage facility, said: “I play there every week and wouldn’t be best pleased. It will not stop people paying for what they love to do though. For that reason, it’s probably seen as an easy target.”

A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs said: “Supplies made by commercial sports league providers are liable to the standard rate of VAT. This has been the situation for years. There has been no change in policy.”

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