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Wayne Rooney's complaint over Sunday Times tax story rejected

Wed 17th Aug 2011 | Money & Finance

The Press Complaints Commission has rejected a complaint from Wayne Rooney over a Sunday Times article that alleged the Manchester United and England footballer had saved hundreds of thousands of pounds due to complex tax arrangements.

Rooney complained the article, headlined "Top footballers dodge millions in income tax: Rooney pays 2% on some earnings", was inaccurate and misleading.

The article, published on 16 January, alleged the England footballer saved almost £600,000 by taking £1.6m in loans rather than income over a two-year period.

Rooney said the headline did not take into account that he was subject to corporation tax of 28% and argued it would not be possible for any person to pay tax on earnings of 2%. The footballer also complained the article failed to mention he had paid the loan back the following year.

The PCC on Wednesday dismissed Rooney's complaint. Stephen Abell, director of the PCC, said: "This was a complicated financial arrangement and it was important for the commission to consider the circumstances in full.

"The commission's case law consistently makes clear that headlines – which are by their nature reductive – need to be read alongside the accompanying article. Although the PCC has upheld complaints in the past where there has been too great a disparity between the headline and the text of the article, this was not a feature on this occasion. As a result, the complaint was not upheld."

The PCC added that the Sunday Times article made clear that the arrangement was legal and the loan had likely been repaid by Rooney.

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