Where’s the dough Jose? How footballers can avoid a tax catastrophe

For some reason (money) it seems that footballers just can't get their tax affairs in order, so we've put together a few pointers to help them out...


As if slipping up on Siberian ice wasn’t bad enough for Jose Mourinho, the grumpy gaffer could’ve been heading for the gulag this week if he hadn’t sorted out his tax affairs.

It’s reported that the former United boss has accepted a prison sentence of one year in Spain for dodging the revenue.

Paul Pogba’s said to think he’s gotten off lightly.

As it is, he won’t have to get fitted out for the chain gang, with Spain not in the habit of enforcing sentences of under two years. Very nice of them.

But Jose’s just the latest in a long line of football personalities who’ve got tangled up in taxation’s red tape. It got us wondering how football’s biggest names can avoid the final reminders and knocks on the door for ducking their share.

Barcelona’s football star Lionel Messi (R) and his father Jorge Horacio Messi listen as they face judges in a tax fraud case at the courthouse of Barcelona on June 2, 2016.
The 28-year-old football star was cheered and jeered as he emerged from a van accompanied by his father Jorge Horacio Messi. The two are accused of using a chain of fake companies in Belize and Uruguay to avoid paying taxes on 4.16 million euros ($4.6 million) of Messi’s income earned through the sale of his image rights from 2007-09. AFP PHOTO/ POOL/ ALBERTO ESTEVEZ / AFP / POOL / Alberto Estevez (Photo credit should read ALBERTO ESTEVEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Don’t trust your Da

It might sound harsh, but there’s no place for sentiment in this, just ask Messi. The Barca star’s father landed his son in a spot of bother with the tax man back in June 2017 when a prison sentence and fine was handed down due to fraud.

Unless he’s an accountant, you can’t take his word, and even then, make sure he’s not a crooked one.

Remember that image isn’t everything

Only last week, Cristiano Ronaldo was back in Spain to accept a similar deal to Mourinho’s, but paying a whopping £16.6m fine to boot. The Portuguese had been stung for siphoning revenue from his image rights through multiple sunny islands in the Caribbean.

Trying to shift all your income through some palm-shaded shell companies sounds just about as dodgy as it gets, so give it a miss and you’ll not have to worry about tickling the inland revenues interest.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – FEBRUARY 15: Rangers fan Michael Haggerty displays a banner outside directed to club owner Craig Whyte, outside the Ibrox Stadium on February 15, 2012 in Glasgow, Scotland. The Clydesdale Bank Premier League club entered administration yesterday over an unpaid tax bill of 9 million GBP. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Beware of Ranger danger

You might have heard that Glasgow Rangers had a spot of bother with the taxman a few years ago. The club went wallop, was relegated down the divisions, and is only now finding its feet again in the Scottish top flight.

The structure they used to pay players during the noughties was deemed extremely naughty back in 2012 – Rangers basically paid wages as a form of loan, meaning they didn’t pay the tax on staff salaries.

The authorities are still pursuing what’s owed, and with the liquidated club not able to pay it all back, they can go after former players to pay the tax on their earnings instead.

Jermain, you have been warned…

Resist Hollywood follies

A string of ex-Premier League pros have been saddled with sizable bills from HMRC after being advised to invest in film productions because they’d get a tax refund for it.

Kevin Campbell, Andy Cole, Martin Keown and Danny Murphy were just some of the players who fell foul of the film-making scheme when the revenue bosses started looking into the rebates as a form of tax avoidance.

An altogether smarter approach to take if you’re trying to make it in Tinseltown is the David Beckham route… though take a few acting lessons first.

Never learn to read or write

While being illiterate night sound like a disadvantage to most, it can help too.

For instance, Harry Redknapp was cleared of all charges at his 2012 trial for tax evasion while at Portsmouth. The FA Cup winner testified that he could barely read or write and left all his tax affairs up to his accountant because he wouldn’t understand any of it!

Just, like, pay your tax lads

C’mon, after you’ve the first couple of million you’re set.

Get the latest football odds at PaddyPower.com

What do you think?