FA fine eats into Tottenham profits

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TOTTENHAM Hotspur's strong start to the football season was soured yesterday by the news that the pounds 1.5m fine imposed by the FA earlier this year helped to send profits tumbling in the year to May, writes Robert Cole.

They fell from pounds 3.4m to pounds 885,000. The dividend was also chopped from 5p to 1p. The shares, which had risen 50 per cent since the beginning of August, fell 10p to close at 143p.

The FA fine was meted out for breaches of regulations relating to loans made by the club to players including Chris Waddle, Paul Gascoigne and Paul Stewart.

Tottenham, chaired by Alan Sugar, was fined pounds 600,000. It was also docked 12 points from this season's Premier League championship challenge and banned from the FA Cup for a year.

On appeal the fine was increased to pounds 1.5m but the points deduction was halved. The total cost increased to pounds 1.8m because the club was ordered to pay costs relating to the action and the appeal.

It was also required to pay about pounds 200,000 in tax after the Inland Revenue conducted an inquiry into the dealings.

The loans were made between 1985 and 1988, before Mr Sugar joined Tottenham. He owns 52 per cent of the club but has waived his entitlement to dividends, saving the company pounds 80,000.

The decline in taxable profits was exaggerated by profits made on the sale of Paul Gascoigne the previous year.