Paul Pogba – the world’s most expensive footballer – has found himself embroiled in an offshore company controversy centred on Jersey.
According to a ‘Football Leaks’ investigation by French news site ‘Mediapart’, the Manchester United midfielder’s image rights are being held in a company on the Esplanade at the request of his agent Mino Raiola.
The news that Pogba’s multi-million rights are looked after by an Island firm has caused a stir in international media, although there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by either Pogba or his agent.
Now, Collas Crill Intellectual Property specialist David Evans has warned against crying 'foul'. He said that the practice was, in fact, “very commonplace.”
He told Express: “Most Premiership footballers – if not all – will have two contracts: one is for playing football, the other is for image rights. This is because a large proportion of sports stars’ income is made up of sponsorship. Even though they’re highly paid at club level, they will be even better paid at sponsorship level. The same is true of tennis players, for example – if you look at Andy Murray, the same is true."
“What will often happen is that a player will assign the rights to their image to a company they may or may not own and that company will then contract with sponsors and receive the money for those sponsorship or appearance fees.”
Given that sports stars’ careers are relatively short, the advantage of using offshore structures, Mr Evans says, is that they can help generate “a pension pot.”
“If someone receives money into his own pocket, he gets taxed on it like you or I would. It’s just a way of rolling up revenue in a tax neutral place that provides more flexibility.”
“You’ll be seeing a lot more of these. I think this will become a lot more commonplace because of the way most sportspeople earn the bulk of their money.”
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