Champions League final could make Exchequer a winner

by Taking Stock

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26 May 2011

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George Osborne in a Manchester United shirt

TS WILL BE an ardent Barcelona fan this weekend. Like Ryan Giggs, TS is loathe to name names but we couldn't bear to see the gurning faces of Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Darren Fletcher if they win the Champions League (or any time, if truth be told).

However, chancellor George Osborne will be a big Manchester United fan on Saturday. No, this is not a shameless attempt to connect with the Tory Party's Surrey heartlands, but a means of generating revenue, according to PKF.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi receives an average salary of £5m a year, which is almost doubled when sponsorship is factored in. This would mean each player would be paying around £250,000 in tax on UK income.

But the government decided to offer a complete exemption for overseas teams playing in the Wembley final and did not extend this to British clubs.

The taxman will never get his hands on the Catalan euros. But a win for United could generate £750,000 for the Exchequer because of the tax the club would pay on top of the £1.25m it has already brought in, the firm calculates.

Despite this, United will be happy to have close to home advantage at the weekend. But, as they showed in the quarter finals against Chelsea and the semi against the German side Schalke, they are equally adept at playing away from home.

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