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Profile: Dennis Bergkamp
Dennis Bergkamp was a participant or observer in the following events:
Arsenal pays £7.5m to sign Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp from Internazionale. The fee is three times the club’s previous record and the move ends Bergkamp’s unhappy time in Italy, where he scored just 11 goals in 54 Serie A games. Bergkamp is reportedly to be paid £25,000 a week, making him the highest paid player in Britain. [Independent, 6/21/1995] Bergkamp’s contract is apparently the first for a British footballer to include a provision that part of the money Arsenal pays him is for image rights. This money is paid into an account in an offshore tax haven and taxed at a lower rate than the salary for playing football. David Platt, also signed by Arsenal around this time (see July 10, 1995), has a similar provision in his contract. [SportsPro, 2/25/2011] The Inland Revenue will challenge the image rights payments, but will be unsuccesful (see April 2000). However, it will later win a significant settlement from British football clubs (see (March 2011)).
The Inland Revenue loses a test case against Arsenal and two of its players, Dennis Bergkamp and David Platt, over the use of image rights provisions in playing contracts to avoid tax. Bergkamp (see June 20, 1995) and Platt (see July 10, 1995) receive a portion of the money Arsenal pays them not as salary, but as compensation for the use of their image rights. The Inland Revenue claims to the Tax Special Commissioners hearing the case that this is a “smokescreen” for paying them money offshore to avoid tax, and that Arsenal, Platt, and Bergkamp should be subjected to income tax and national insurance contributions via Arsenal’s payroll. However, the commissioners decide that the payments are legitimately made in return for allowing Arsenal to exploit the players’ images, a purpose different to playing football. [SportsPro, 2/25/2011] The making of payments to footballers for image rights will grow in future years, although the British tax authorities will win a settlement for the scheme’s over-use in 2011 (see (March 2011)).
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