London: English football club Portsmouth, which been suffering severe financial troubles, has been handed a winding-up petition by the Her Majesty`s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over an unpaid tax bill.
The club, situated on the south-coast of England, is currently placed 17th in the Championship (second tier).
"Ensuring tax is paid on time should be at the centre of a football club`s business strategy," an HMRC spokesman was quoted as saying by ESPN Soccernet.
"Anyone that regards paying tax as an option, or that uses tax collected from employees or customers as working capital, is potentially heading for trouble.
"While a winding-up order is a last resort, there is little HMRC can do for a business - be it a football club or not - whose viability is dependent either on not paying the UK taxes to which they are liable, or on special treatment not available to other customers with similar tax affairs."
The club had gone into administration in 2010 and were docked points resulting in their exodus from the Premier League. The demotion to a lower league costed Portsmouth more and in a bid to make money they had to sell key players.
The club were also accused of not paying their players any salary, resulting in severe criticism from the Professional Footballers Association (PFA).
"This period, while we search for a new owner, was always going to be difficult from a cash flow point of view," Portsmouth chief-executive David Lampitt said Saturday. "We are in a difficult position and will remain in a difficult position until the ownership is sorted.
"The club does not have the funding that would have been there if our previous owner had been in place. It has been a difficult two months to balance the financial position of the club."