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EU's PANA Committee Investigating Tax Evasion In Football

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

27 September 2017


The European Parliament's committee on money laundering, tax avoidance, and tax evasion (PANA) is investigating what it calls "epidemic" levels of tax evasion in football.

Officials from football's governing bodies, UEFA and FIFA, were questioned by the PANA committee on September 26. According to a press release from the European Parliament, these officials "sidestepped an invitation to openly criticize footballers" accused or convicted of tax evasion. Parliament also said that the officials faced "hostile questioning throughout the session."

Jeppe Kofod, one of the committee's co-rapporteurs, asked the officials whether, if they are "for fair play, shouldn't [they] also be for fair taxes?" The European Parliament said that both officials "ducked an invitation" to condemn either Lionel Messi, who has been found guilty in Spain of tax evasion, or his club Barcelona.

Parliament reported Kimberly Morris, Head of Global Transfers and Compliance at FIFA, as saying that the matter "was more the purview of tax authorities."

Morris's comments were echoed by Julien Zylberstein, legal counsel at UEFA, who told the committee: "We believe tax evasion is a clear threat to the social values of football and to the regulatory framework and to the integrity of the broader game. Having said that, it's up to the regulatory authorities."

PANA committee chairman Werner Langer said that the answers were "not completely satisfactory," while MEP Louis Michel accused the officials of "a magnificent example of double talk."

TAGS: compliance | tax | tax compliance | tax avoidance | tax planning | Spain | European Union (EU) | Europe | Tax | Tax Evasion

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