Clubs will now have received their new ‘rate bills’ but whether the bills can be properly understood and deciphered is a matter for the ‘fourth official’ (or even better the professional advisor on business rates).


Rateable Values were drafted at the beginning of the season (last September) and formally published last week, close to the end, but they are due to last for five full financial years (up until 1 April 2022). Clubs will be advised to seek a full analysis of what the new assessment means and whether the bill is actually correct.


Many clubs in England, Wales & Scotland will be unhappy with the sudden rates penalty but any attempt to stall payments will receive an instant red card in the shape of a Magistrates summons and a liability order so the option is to seek a proper Valuation Office slow motion review through the new Check, Challenge Appeal regime in England or the Assessor’s office in Scotland.


Those who remain dissatisfied, following a midfield altercation, can play for ‘extra time’ through the appeals regime in all three jurisdictions, although the outcome at that stage is uncertain and a penalty shoot-out is unreliable.


The advice for ratepayers is to consider the correctness of valuation and liability early in the process and seek informal discussions with the authorities. Appeals are likely to be bureaucratic, long-winded, expensive and unpredictable.