It's unfair on the ordinary taxpayer

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The Independent Online

The fact that Manchester United and other clubs paid no corporation tax can't be right. Multimillion-pound football clubs shouldn't be able to beat the tax system. Loopholes should be closed. It might not be illegal, but it's wrong when others have to pay taxes in full.

It calls into question the amount of debt that football clubs carry and whether it is sustainable. I would like to know how much deferred tax is collected by HMRC and what happens when clubs get into difficult times. What safety mechanisms are in place? It's not fair if the taxpayer has to sustain that debt.

I think ordinary football fans will be very upset by what's happening. They are still paying top amounts for season tickets in austere times, which contribute to the clubs' revenue. This is fine, but not if taxpayers are not getting what they require in return.

When people are having their pay frozen, they expect everyone else to find things tough as well. The reality is they're not. This must be tackled by select committees, the sports minister and the Treasury.

Gerry Sutcliffe is a Labour MP and former sports minister