Several men were arrested in raids on Newcastle United and West Ham United football clubs today.
They were held by tax officials investigating alleged fraud. HMRC said 180 officers from across the UK and France were involved.
It is reported that the income tax and National Insurance fraud could amount to £5 million. It is understood Newcastle’s managing director Lee Charnley was among those held.
HMRC officers also visited offices belonging to Chelsea FC “in connection with its wider investigation”, a club spokesman confirmed.
In a statement, West Ham United said it was “co-operating fully with HMRC to assist their enquiries.”
HMRC said it had arrested “several men working within the professional football industry for a suspected income tax and national insurance fraud”.
It added that 180 HMRC officers have been deployed across the UK and France.
“Investigators have searched a number of premises in the north east and south east of England and arrested the men and also seized business records, financial records, computers and mobile phones,” it said in a statement.
“The French authorities are assisting the UK investigation, have made arrests and several locations have been searched in France.
“As this is an ongoing investigation, HMRC is unable to provide any further detail at this time.”