SOUTHAMPTON FC has denied claims that it offered to pay under the minimum wage in a job advert.

The club has insisted that claims that it offered to pay below the minimum wage for the position working in the ticket office were wrong.

The claims come after the club broke its transfer record to sign Sofiane Boufal for £16million and gave contracts worth thousands of pounds a week to Ryan Bertrand, Fraser Forster, Virgil van Dijk and Cedric.

A complaint had been made to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) by independent Southampton City councillor for Redbridge Andrew Pope.

Cllr Pope's complaint relates to an advert on the club's own website in July this year for a job in the ticket office who quoted a rate of £6.50 per hour or the minimum wage.

Mr Pope complaint was that it implied that lower than the minimum wage, which is currently £7.20, would be paid.

However, Saints have said the people hired for the role actually get paid more than the minimum wage.

The club said the wording was a commonly adopted policy to reflect how the minimum wage varies depending on your age.

In a statement the club said: "The job role referred to was a casual ticket office assistant role, clearly advertised at ‘£6.50 or above depending on national minimum wage’ - a common practice adopted by thousands of businesses to reflect the varying minimum wage rates which are dependent on the age of the employee.

"The two 18 year olds employed by the club as a result of this job advert are in fact being paid £6.70 per hour - well above the minimum wage for 18-20 year olds of £5.30.

The statement added: "The club maintains regular contact and an excellent relationship with HMRC as a result of operating within such a high profile industry.

"As part of a league-wide process that began in June 2016, the club recently welcomed their team to St Mary's for a routine national minimum wage audit.

"There have been no findings communicated to the club thus far to indicate the club is anything other than fully compliant with their regulations."

The Premier League pledged in March last year that all its clubs would pay the rate defined by the Living Wage Foundation which is £9.40 in London and £8.25 elsewhere to all their full-time staff from the start of this season, when the new £8billion broadcasting right deal came into force.

Cllr Pope said: “I have been campaigning to improve staff pay in football for years, because the pay gap couldn't be bigger between players, agents and staff.

"I have reported Southampton FC because I believe I have evidence to warrant an investigation by HMRC.

An HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) spokesperson said that they followed up all complaints about potential wage abuse but could not comment on individual cases.