South West Wales

Llanelli AFC: Court bid to wind up Welsh Premiership club

A petition to wind up a Welsh Premier football club has been lodged at London's High Court.

Lawyers for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have filed documents on former champions Llanelli AFC ahead of a hearing on Monday.

A previous winding up bid was dismissed in September when the High Court was told the club had paid its tax debts.

Meanwhile, Llanelli Town Council has given the football club 28 days to pay £18,000 rent arrears.

The outstanding sum relates to the rent of the ground and the social club. The leases of both have been terminated.

The town council said the club can continue to operate and fulfil its fixture list for the time being but has to come forward to negotiate new agreements and settle the arrears.

In a statement, the town council said it had been "very patient" with the football club and had invested in improvements at the ground but had to stand firm in the interests of Llanelli council tax payers.

The statement read: "Following a meeting with the chairman, Mr Nitin Parekh, in July of this year, assurances were given that an immediate payment would be made against the arrears with the remainder being settled before the end of July.

"These payments never materialised and after numerous further assurances the council instructed their solicitors to write to the football club seeking payment of the arrears, some of which date back to December 2011.

'Heavily subsidised'

The statement said the council was within its rights to take immediate possession of the ground and social club but was allowing both a "period of grace" in the hope of "dialogue".

The town council said it is owed £9,147.60 in respect of the football club and £9,109.82 over the social club.

Council leader Carl Lucas said: "The town council has been very patient with Llanelli AFC Ltd with regard to the payment of their rent.

"The council has heavily subsidised Stebonheath Park and has invested in its future with improvements of the football pitch and infrastructure.

"It is very disappointing to see the football club in such dire financial trouble but the council has to do what is right for the council tax payers of Llanelli.

"It is hoped that, with the period of grace we have given the club, a dialogue will take place that will resolve the situation to the benefit of both parties and the club can continue to bring credit to the town."

Another Welsh Premier team, Neath FC, was wound up in May.

In the same month Neath Rugby Club escaped a winding-up order after it was accepted it had paid its debts to HMRC.

Llanelli are currently without a manager after Andy Legg resigned earlier this week.

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