Paris Saint-Germain are expected to formalise their bid to sign Neymar in a deal worth more than £500m this week. It would place him on a par with Lionel Messi as the best paid footballer on an annual salary of £55m. Neymar’s father should be able to take eight figure commissions on the transaction.
Barcelona are to pay Lionel Messi a basic wage worth more than £1m a week. Messi’s gross salary under a four year contract has been set at an annual €60m (£54.8m). If the contract runs for its full term Barca are committed to paying him £220m before performance bonuses.
Barcelona had total revenues of €620.2m (£548.6m at current exchange rates) in 2016, the second highest figure in football after Manchester United. Last season the club budgeted for €695m of income and, according to its own analysis, Messi contributed 20 per cent of that figure.
The Supreme Court yesterday ruled in favour of HM Revenue and Customs in a long-running dispute over offshore trusts used by Rangers Football Club. Five judges unanimously dismissed an appeal by the liquidators of RC 2012, the company formerly known as Rangers Football Club before its financial collapse in 2012.
The pressure on Katrien Liebherr to sell Southampton could increase as a result of an investigation by the German tax authorities. The public prosecutor’s office is investigating the tax liability of her late father, Markus Liebherr.
The proposed naming rights deal between Vodafone and the London Stadium has yet to be signed, leading to fears that HMRC’s raid on the stadium last month has led the telecoms giant to reconsider. A draft contract of a £20m six year deal has been with the Vodafone board since the start of the month, but has not been signed off.
The relationship between the tax authorites and football has been a difficult one in recent years. There was the controversy over payments for players ‘image rights’ while the tendency of clubs in financial difficulties to use their tax payments as a de facto credit card also gave rise to resentments.
In recent years HMRC has collected more than £80m in additional tax payments from clubs, players and agents following probes into ‘image rights’ payments through which parties to a transfer can make large tax savings.
Leyton Orient’s owner Francesco Becchetti has been given until June 12th by the High Court to settle all outstanding debts or sell the club. The money owed to the Inland Revenue, thought to be around £250,000, which was the subject of today’s hearing has been paid, but there are four other creditors.
Becchetti was not at the hearing, but his representatives said that he would inject £1m into the club to settle all outstanding debts, which include £6,000 owed to the club’s photographer.
Leyton Orient have been served with a winding up order over unpaid tax bills. The case will be heard in the High Court on March 20th. The money owed to HMRC is thought to be in the region of £250,000.
The last set of financial results for the club suggested that debts exceeded assets by £5.5m. The club are in real danger of relegation to the National League which would make them less attractive to prospective buyers.
As part of his campaign to cap high pay in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn has specifically targeted footballers’ pay. This is, of course, good populist politics.
It has been a long drawn out saga which started in February but Notts County have been sold by owner Ray Trew to local businessman Alan Hardy. Trew put the club up for sale after being subjected to what he called ‘mindless abuse’ by fans. They are the oldest professional football club in the world, having been founded in 1862.