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Tax waiver for foreign stars in next year's Champions League Final

Fri 26th Mar 2010 | Money & Finance

The British Government has introduced a special resolution in its budget to ensure that players taking part in next year's Champions League final at Wembley will not be liable to pay tax according to inside world football.  

The tax waiver, included in the small print of the budget introduced on Wednesday, was introduced at the request of Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe.

At the end of a technical document entitled "notes on budget resolutions" is a clause which "authorises the Finance Bill to contain provision to exempt certain persons from income tax in respect of certain income arising in connection with the 2011 Champions League final".

Players, such as Barcelona's Lionel Messi or Inter Milan's Samuel Eto'o, faced the prospect of being taxed at up 50 per cent on any prize money they earned for playing in the final if their clubs reach it.

The controversial law was cited by UEFA President Michel Platini as the reason why Madrid was chosen ahead of London for this year's Champions League final.

It now appears that Sutcliffe's intervention is designed to remove any remaining stumbling blocks to next year's event being held in the capital.

A leading accountant has confirmed that the clause was specifically for the Champions League final but warned that the decision could lead to claims from other top sportsmen and women for them to avoid having to pay tax on their winnings in Britain.

Ronnie Ludwig, from Saffery Champness, said: "That [clause] means footballers in foreign teams taking part in the final at Wembley.

"This may be a move to protect Britain's ability to host the event and one can understand the logic of such considerations”.

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