London, Nov 7 : Fallen England soccer idol Paul Gascoigne has been given a nine-week breathing space to file his late tax returns and fend off a bankruptcy petition by Revenue and Customs.
Gascoigne has not filed any returns for the past two years. The taxman is petitioning on the basis of an estimated 200,000-pound liability, The Sun reported.
At the London Bankruptcy Court, the case was adjourned until January 9 with the Revenue's agreement.
Gascoigne's solicitor Craig Montgomery told Deputy Registrar Kyriakides that his financial affairs were complex, involving interests overseas, and time was needed to submit returns and liquidate assets to meet his liabilities.
Gascoigne did not attend today's hearing. Outside court, Montgomery stressed: "There is no suggestion that he doesn't have the funds to meet his tax liabilities. It is just a question of having time to make the returns."
Gascoigne does not have a regular income, he said. It comes from books and appearances, and he has overseas interests. "It takes time to work out where everything is," said Montgomery.
The 41-year-old former England ace, who has been treated for alcohol and mental health problems, was once one of football's highest paid stars.
Gazza became a millionaire overnight when he was transferred from Newcastle to Spurs in 1988. He secured a 1.25million pound-a-year deal with Italian club Lazio in 1992 on top of a 1million pound-a-year boot sponsorship contract.
He was still earning 1million pound-year after joining Rangers in 1995 and 30,000 pound a week from Middlesbrough in 1998.
When he was the star of the England squad, he won a 2million pound sponsorship deal from Puma, the sports clothing maker, 500,000 pound with Brut aftershave and 300,000 pound for Walkers Crisps ads.
He also secured a 2.5million pound deal with Adidas. At one stage it was reported that he was worth 14million pound, The Sun reported.