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HMRC questions 'image-right' deals

The Premier League is to attempt a deal with tax authorities to help clubs and players protect their sponsorship deals and prevent them losing £100m.

Revenue & Customs is questioning the validity of many of the deals struck between clubs and the "image-rights" companies set up by players to enhance and protect their public profile.

The Revenue suspects that one of the real aims of many of these deals is to attract foreign-based players who had been put off by British taxation levels.

Instead of paying all of a player's remuneration in salary, clubs are paying some money into image-rights companies that tend to be based offshore and are therefore out of reach of tax officials.

The Premier League said: "We are in discussions with HMRC [the Revenue]. All players have some degree of image rights attached to them. It is legitimate to have some element of image rights, but HMRC would query the level that some have attached to them."

The Revenue said: "The government remains committed to ensuring everyone pays their fair share of tax and that the minority who seek not to do so should not succeed."

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