Britain relaxes tax rules to lure top athletes

Last Updated: Sat, Feb 09, 2013 10:00 hrs

London, Feb 9 (IANS/CMC) Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt and other overseas athletes will be able to compete tax-free in this year's London Diamond League after the British government agreed to tax exemptions.

Bolt, who won three gold medals at the London Olympics, had not raced previously in the United Kingdom since 2009 because of tax rules, reports CMC.

"The government is determined to do everything possible to secure the Olympic legacy and I am delighted to grant this exemption," Finance Minister George Osborne told the Daily Telegraph.

Under British law, non-residents are required to pay a 50 percent tax rate on their appearance fee, and also cough up a quantity of their worldwide endorsement income.

The regulation has forced Bolt, the reigning Olympic 100 and 200 metres champion, to opt out of the London Aviva Grand Prix for the last two years.

"It's like me asking you to come to work today and pay me three times what you're getting," declared Bolt's agent Ricky Simms.

"For anyone who earns over a million dollars a year, it doesn't make sense for them to come to Britain."

Despite Osborne's intervention, Bolt has yet to confirm his attendance at the London Diamond league event.

The games have been switched from its traditional Crystal Palace home to the Olympic Stadium to mark its first anniversary July 27.



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