Int'l sports stars such as Novak Djokovic, Tiger Woods and Usain Bolt "could benefit from fast-track tax exemptions when they compete in the U.K., under legislation being drawn up by ministers," according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Primary legislation on major sports events "is being planned that would allow the culture secretary to sign an order modifying a U.K. regulation if it would help attract big stars." Sports bodies have long argued the U.K.’s tax laws "make leading sports stars reluctant to play in certain events." They "have to make their case for exemption on an ad hoc basis to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which then has to persuade the Treasury to waive the tax requirements." U.K. Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said that his department "was prioritising the proposed legislation and expected time to be allocated in the next session of parliament for the bill." Robertson said, "International federations are getting increasingly demanding in terms of what they want from host nations. It would be much easier if we had a framework Act that would drive through this." Among areas being looked at "are tax exemptions for sports stars, fast-track visas, security provisions and ticket-tout bans" (FT, 7/5).
La Liga side Espanyol will have a budget of €50M ($64.2M) for next season, according to Juan Terrats of EL PERIODICO. Espanyol Economic VP José Luis Morlanes on Friday explained the club's economic figures, which represent one of the 10 highest budgets in La Liga. Espanyol is "confident that in two years it will reach economic equilibrium without having to sell players." Morlanes said that the club "is facing decreased TV revenue and coming off a season that saw a 14% decrease in season-ticket sales and a 35.8% drop in marketing income." To compensate, the plan "is to increase revenue through exhibition matches." Morlanes: "If there are three or four games, we will earn between €700,000 ($898,170) and €1M ($1.3M)" (EL PERIODICO, 7/5).
Lionel Messi's lawyers Cristóbal Martell and Ángel Juárez on Friday established their first contact with the Spanish government's Office of Financial Crimes to work on resolving the fraud charges Messi and his father are facing, according to Jesús G. Albalat of EL PERIODICO. In letters, "Messi has expressed his preference of reaching an agreement, which will happen in principle when Messi pays the debt owed and the accompanying fines." Judicial sources "have calculated that the total of the debt, the interest and the possible fine could mean, if agreed," a payment of €9M ($11.6M) for Messi. The Office of Financial Crimes indicated to Martell and Juárez that they have to contact an attorney representing the Spanish tax authorities to first agree with that lawyer (EL PERIODICO, 7/5).