AHEAD OF THE GAME: HMRC slap Premier League stars with tax bill on agents’ fees while series of late Swansea spot kicks causes a stir on Championship managers’ WhatsApp groups

  • Premier League stars are facing retrospective multi-million-pound tax bills  
  • HMRC are seeking to clamp down on dual representation loop hole being used 
  • West Brom are back on the open market amid a disagreement over sale price
  • Swansea’s late penalties is the talk of Championship managers this week 
  • The Women’s Super League is attracting interest from private equity firms  

Premier League stars are facing retrospective multi-million-pound tax bills following a HMRC clampdown on the payment of agent fees. 

Players at numerous top-flight clubs have received letters from the Inland Revenue demanding payment, while tax officials attended a virtual meeting organised by the Association of Football Agents this week to explain their new approach to the taxation of agent fees.

HMRC are seeking to clamp down on abuse of a loophole created by the practice of dual representation, which allows the same agent to act for both the player and the club in the same transfer or contract negotiation.

Premier League stars are facing retrospective tax bills as HMRC clamp down on a loophole

Premier League stars are facing retrospective tax bills as HMRC clamp down on a loophole

Clubs are permitted to reclaim VAT paid on agent fees, and HMRC guidance states that, in cases of dual representation, the fee should be split 50-50 between club and player so only half of the VAT is clawed back. 

HMRC have discovered that several agents are invoicing clubs for 90 per cent of their fee, with the player only paying 10 per cent, leading to significant tax savings for players, who have now been hit with historic bills.

Baggies return to open market as chiefs disagree over sale price   

West Brom are back on the open market after the exclusivity period with one potential buyer lapsed without an agreement being reached. 

West Bromwich Albion are back on the open market after an exclusivity period came to an end

West Bromwich Albion are back on the open market after an exclusivity period came to an end

Delays to a sale are understood to be due in part to a disagreement between club chiefs over sale price (pictured: owner Lai Guochuan)

Delays to a sale are understood to be due in part to a disagreement between club chiefs over sale price (pictured: owner Lai Guochuan)

Three parties have expressed an interest in buying West Brom, but the process has been delayed by a disagreement between owner Lai Guochuan and executive director Xu Ke over the sale price. 

The need to agree two different prices depending upon whether or not the club stay in the Premier League, with rebate clauses to be triggered in the event of relegation, is another complicating factor that has slowed things down.

Spot-on Swans causing a stir   

Swansea’s recent run of controversial late penalties is the talk of Championship managers on WhatsApp groups this week.

The issue was highlighted by Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock following his side’s 2-1 defeat at the Liberty Stadium last weekend. 

Swansea City's flurry of recent late penalties has caused a stir among second-tier managers

Swansea City’s flurry of recent late penalties has caused a stir among second-tier managers

Neil Warnock jested about the subject which has been discussed on WhatsApp groups

Neil Warnock jested about the subject which has been discussed on WhatsApp groups

Warnock was heard on the touchline referring to the possible influence of Swansea manager Steve Cooper’s father — former top-flight referee Keith — after Middlesbrough had a goal disallowed before conceding a late penalty, though later insisted he was joking. 

While not endorsing Warnock’s conspiracy theories, other managers have discussed Swansea’s apparent good fortune with refereeing decisions after Cooper’s side also secured victory over Stoke with a contentious injury-time penalty the previous week.

Derby takeover delayed by parallel negotiations   

The protracted takeover at Derby has been further delayed by parallel negotiations with MSD Capital, who are seeking a return on their investment in the club. 

MSD have loaned Derby around £17.5million in two tranches, with the most recent needed to enable the club to pay players earlier this year, and the private equity firm want to be paid out before any change of ownership. 

The proposed takeover from Sheik Khaled’s Derventio Holdings has stalled. As Sportsmail revealed last month, Spanish businessman Erik Alonso has tabled a rival bid.

Derby County's protracted takeover has been hit by further delays by parallel negotiations

Derby County’s protracted takeover has been hit by further delays by parallel negotiations

WSL could sell equity stakes   

The Women’s Super League is attracting interest from private equity firms keen to invest ahead of a planned restructure of the competition. 

The Premier League are conducting a feasibility study about a possible takeover of the women’s top flight, which is currently run by the FA, but selling a stake in the competition to outside investors and running it independently of both organisations is being considered as another option. 

The change will not take place until 2024 because, as Sportsmail revealed this week, the FA have already agreed a TV rights deal for the next three seasons with Sky Sports and the BBC. 

The ground-breaking deal which will see WSL games broadcast on BBC1 is the first time the competition has attracted a rights fee, which has alerted private equity firms to the sport’s potential for commercial growth.    

The Women's Super League is attracting interest from private equity firms keen to invest

The Women’s Super League is attracting interest from private equity firms keen to invest



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