By Peter Stevenson
THE VAT service will look to prosecute a number of first division football clubs after it was revealed they owed the state more than €13.2 million since 1998.
Menelaos Georgiades, VAT service spokesman, told the state broadcaster yesterday that efforts had been made to collect the money but the response from the clubs had been very disheartening.
“Prosecution cases are being prepared but have yet to be finalised after we contacted the clubs to collect the money and despite a small number of positive responses the general reaction was very disheartening as it would appear that we are not taken seriously,” he said.
Georgiades added that due to this treatment, head of VAT service Constantinos Nicolaides had decided to go ahead and prosecute all those clubs that still owe money.
“We have informed the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) which has forwarded us the names of the board members of those clubs that owe us €4 million since 2007,” he said.
Those names, the spokesman said, have been put on a list of people who will have legal proceedings taken against them.
In 1998 the cabinet decided to freeze all football club debts but under a new deal in June 2007, clubs agreed to eventually pay off their debts to the government.
“In 2007 a new payment plan was agreed by the clubs to repay their debt to the government and in strict accordance with the plan the clubs should have made payments to VAT,” Georgiades said.
The service has sent numerous letters to the clubs asking them to meet the necessary payments but the reply has been underwhelming, the spokesman added.
The amount of money owed since 1998, Georgiades said, by clubs from all divisions comes to €13.2 million. First division clubs owe the VAT service €10.3 million.
“The €13.2 million is owed by teams from the first, second, third and fourth divisions as well as certain companies linked to the running of football clubs which has accumulated since 1998,” he said.