Morecambe's EFL embargo has finally been lifted

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Morecambe can now register players for the new season following confirmation that the EFL embargo placed upon the club has been lifted.

The announcement was made on Thursday afternoon, with the Shrimps having been under an HMRC-related embargo since March.

However, the club has been fined £5,131.82, alongside a one transfer window fee restriction – suspended for two years – for what the EFL termed as ‘the club failing to meet its payment obligations in accordance with EFL Regulations’.

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An EFL statement said: “In June 2024, after accumulating over 30 days of late payments within a 12-month period, the EFL issued the club with a financial penalty relevant to the breach, alongside imposing the automatic three-transfer window fee restriction as set out in the Regulations.

Morecambe FC's EFL embargo has been liftedMorecambe FC's EFL embargo has been lifted
Morecambe FC's EFL embargo has been lifted
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“In such circumstances the club can appeal the sanction and ask an independent Disciplinary Commission to consider the specific circumstances. Morecambe FC exercised this right.

“On full review of the relevant factors leading to the breach, the Commission upheld the issuing of the financial penalty but felt that, given the additional mitigations put forward, it was appropriate to reduce the fee restriction to one transfer window, suspended for two years.

“The restriction will be triggered should there be a further breach of the current time-to-pay agreement between the club and HMRC.

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“The EFL accepted the explanation for the late payment provided by the club during the hearing and, given the unique circumstances of this case, is satisfied with the Commission’s findings.

“The registration embargo placed on the club in March 2024 following the initial breach has now been lifted.”

In response, Morecambe issued the following statement: “We appreciate the approach taken by the EFL following the club's appeal to resolve what is a highly unusual situation.

“We also appreciate the due consideration of the Independent Disciplinary Commission. All parties were seeking a speedy resolution within the EFL’s protocols and rules.

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“Co-chairman Graham Howse attended the hearings on behalf of Morecambe FC and put forward evidence and explanations, which had already been provided to the EFL and to the Independent Disciplinary Commission.

“All parties recognised the exceptional circumstances, and evidence provided by HMRC confirmed that Morecambe Football Club had done nothing wrong under HMRC guidelines.

“HMRC raised an assessment against the club regarding a change in treatment by them of a supplier's invoices, raised and paid in good faith.

“This change came months after the submission of the normal VAT return and, due to the size of the sum and its impact on cashflow, a ‘time-to-pay’ agreement was reached between the club and HMRC.

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“EFL rules are clear on the treatment of time-to-pay agreements, but due consideration was given by all, resulting in a reduction in the original sanction.

“Morecambe Football Club has this week, in accordance with the time-to-pay agreement with HMRC, fully settled its liabilities.

We especially appreciate the news that the registration embargo placed on the club in March 2024 has now been lifted.

“This means the club can now register players ahead of the upcoming season, and a number of registrations have now been submitted to the EFL for approval.”