Wales

Neath rugby: HMRC's winding up petition over unpaid tax

The Gnoll ground has hosted Neath RFC since the club's formation in 1871
Image caption The Gnoll ground has hosted Neath RFC since the club's formation in 1871

One of Wales' oldest rugby clubs is facing a second winding-up petition a month after the last one was dismissed.

A court previously heard Neath - where rugby superstars Jonathan Davies, Shane Williams and Adam Jones started their career - owed about £10,000 in tax.

The winding-up petition by the taxman follows the collapse of the club's owner Mike Cuddy's construction business Cuddy Group in 2018.

The latest case will be heard at the High Court in London on 30 January.

Neath dominated the amateur domestic game in the late 1980s - winning three Championships - and provided more than half of the Wales team for a match against the Barbarians in 1990.

The Welsh All Blacks, established in 1871, also won four of five Welsh Premier titles between 2005 and 2010.

At the hearing in Cardiff in December, Judge Andrew Keyser found the club, which trades as Neath Rugby Limited, was insolvent.

However he reluctantly did not uphold the petition from finance company Jardine Norton because paperwork relating to a £31,000 debt was "unclear".

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Media captionJonathan Davies try against Bath

It also emerged Neath Port Talbot Council may be owed money.

Bottom of the league

Neath is currently bottom of the Principality Premiership and has been unable to fulfil a number of recent fixtures.

Neath supporters who travelled to last month's hearing said at the time they wanted the club to be wound up so they could "re-build" and were disappointed with the judge's decision.

Gerald Morris, who runs hospitality at the club, said a small group of supporters had been working on a rescue plan.

He said they had a consortium of investors who would have been willing to step in if it the club had been wound up.

Image copyright Huw Evans agency
Image caption Owner Mike Cuddy has said he is willing to sell the club

Cuddy initially indicated he wanted to stay and build up the club again but in a statement following the hearing Mr Cuddy said he is willing to sell the struggling Welsh Premiership club and leave because of his ill-health.

Cuddy has been diagnosed with Neurosarcoidosis, which can cause stroke-like symptoms and has affected his mobility and speech.

This is not the first time the Welsh All Blacks has had issues with its finances.

In 2012, the club fought off a winding-up order from HMRC over unpaid tax after settling the debt, and in 2014 it faced a winding-up petition over unpaid business rates owed to Neath Port Talbot council.

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