Norwich City face fine over delay in releasing accounts

Michael Bailey Norwich City are expecting a slap on the wrist from Companies House over filing their annual accounts late - but say it may be for the greater good. The Canaries' end of year results, which run from June 2008, to May 31 this year, were due with the registrar at the end of November, but they are now likely to be filed three months late ahead of the club's adjourned annual general meeting on February 2.

Michael Bailey

Norwich City are expecting a slap on the wrist from Companies House over filing their annual accounts late - but say it may be for the greater good.

The Canaries' end of year results, which run from June 2008, to May 31 this year, were due with the registrar at the end of November, but they are now likely to be filed three months late ahead of the club's adjourned annual general meeting on February 2.

City officials had already confirmed that the annual meeting's postponement is down to a "rigorous review" of the club's operations and it is believed a similar reason lies behind the delay in Norwich's accounts arriving at Companies House.


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Filing the accounts late with the registrar is a far less serious matter for the club than doing similar with its tax return; City have until next May to complete that ritual.

But the Canaries are still likely to be on the end of a fine, which amounts to �1,500 if the accounts arrive between one and three months late. Then there will be the hit to City's credit rating - however that, along with the modest fine, is unlikely to have a significant effect on the club's restructuring plans which officials at Carrow Road would admit are taking precedence.

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Ian Fitch, partner at Norwich chartered accountants firm Larking Gowen, said: "Accounts are one of the many factors that contribute to a company's credit rating and late accounts, of course, are not helpful.

"But in the short-term it is unlikely to make any difference to the club's existing supplier relationships, which are no doubt well managed. Businesses sometimes file accounts late for strategic reasons."

Those reasons could involve trying to secure extra finance as part of the club's financial restructuring, something which looks likely to be clarified at the Canaries' annuual meeting next year.

The Carrow Road board has also moved to appoint its first financial adviser in recent years, by bringing onside global accountancy giants and football finance experts Deloitte, to help sift through the club's financial problems.

As chief executive David McNally and chairman Alan Bowkett look to restructure the club's �18.8million debt, last month the club confirmed they would be adjourning the meeting of City's shareholders for three months after instructing "a rigorous review of the way the football club operates".

The Canaries' November statement read: "Some significant changes have been made and are still being made. This gives us the time to continue with the restructuring of the business and will enable us to give a much clearer overview to our shareholders when the annual accounts are produced prior to February's meeting."

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