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Spanish football calls for a new Law for Sports and greater legal security at the fiscal level

2 July, 2018


One of the fundamental problems of Sport is that the law that regulates it is 28 years old (it was approved in 1990), and nine Secretaries of State have declined to change it.” The president of the Spanish Association of Footballers’ Agents (AEAF), Pedro Bravo, was in favor of updating the regulations during his participation in the 1st ISDE Forum, held at the Madrid campus of the school specializing in legal-economic training with the collaboration of Laffer Abogados and UBS (Union de Banques Suisses).

It was not the only voice that spoke in this regard. Agents and soccer players demanded that the Government approve a new Sports Law. Along with the president of the AEAF, participated in the table entitled ‘Taxation in sport’ the professor of Financial and Tax Law of the University Carlos III and advisor of the Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE), Juan Zornoza; the director of strategy of UBS Spain, Roberto Scholtes; and the partner of the tax department of Laffer Abogados, Francisco Salinas. The Director of ISDE, Juan José Sánchez Puig, was in charge of the opening remarks.
“Why can´t an agent have the same system of retribution and, therefore, be subject to the same taxation as a head hunter? The footballers are suffering a bad situation because they are not given legal security,” said Pedro Bravo during his speech, in reference to the fact that the tax figure of the representative is still “alegal” in the current order. The president of the AEAF was especially critical of tax inspections and leaks of contracts in the Football leaks case:

“It is not serious that the inspectors are using coercion mechanisms against athletes and agents.” In his opinion, “before the bankruptcy of legal security, the bar associations and the state attorney general’s office should take action on the matter.”

For his part, the AFE adviser pointed to a change “in the interpretation of the regulations” and regretted that the players are, in their view, the “scapegoat”, coincidentally “coinciding” with the start of the campaign the rent.From the point of view of the advisors, there are also risks. “The lawyers feel threatened. It has become a profession of risk because we are being included in the cases against players in the alleged tax fraud. Before each advice we give, there is a risk that it is considered that we are necessary cooperators in this fiscal offense. Rule 85/15 on the transfer of image rights is a deadly trap of the Tax Agency, “said Francisco Salinas, of Laffer Abogados.

Reforming regulations and ending legal uncertainty in the tax sphere should be, according to the agents of the sector, the priority in the work of the Administration. In the opinion of Roberto Scholtes, of UBS Spain, this is especially relevant considering that “the pie is going to become bigger; the business in audiovisual rights is multiplying especially from the emerging markets of

Asia, America and Africa, which will increase the tax burden. We will have to be attentive to the fiscal policies applied by the governments of the countries of the best leagues in the world.

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