Argentine Official Meets FIFA’s Blatter on Soccer Tax Avoidance
Argentina’s tax agency head is meeting FIFA President Sepp Blatter today to tell him how soccer teams are evading taxes in the $3.7 billion player trading market.
Ricardo Echegaray has traveled to the soccer ruling bodyâs headquarters in Zurich to inform Blatter that his agency has detected techniques used by clubs to direct transfers through “sporting tax havens,” the tax office said in an e-mailed statement.
The visit comes a week after FIFA said it fined four Argentine clubs for trading players through a Uruguayan team for “reasons that were not of a sporting nature.”
Argentina’s tax agency has been in touch with FIFA previously. In 2012 it wrote to the soccer body to say players from that country were being traded through seven clubs in Uruguay and two in Chile to avoid paying higher tax rates at home, and that sometimes the transfer fees passed through offshore companies.
The agency said at the time that the transfer fees were split between the player, his agent and investors who owned his transfer rights. Argentina is among the biggest exporter of soccer players in the world yet many of its teams are indebted as clubs receive just a fraction of the amount raised from sales.
Deportivo Maldonado SAD, a team in Uruguay’s second tier with average attendances of about 200, and led by a group of U.K. businessmen, earned $14 million since 2011 through trading players who never played for it. Officials there say they abide with FIFA’s regulations and local laws.
In 2012, the Argentine tax authorities published details of how defender Jonathan Bottinelli was transferred between Argentine clubs San Lorenzo and River Plate via Union San Felipe, a Chilean team for which he’d never played. The $1.7 million fee was deposited in a Miami bank account, according to the paperwork.
Credit: Business Week