What are footballers’ “image rights”?
Image rights are much more than photos of players on their club websites or names on the back of replica shirts. Football is part of the sports entertainment industry and player recognition has real value. To sign a contract purely based on performance on the sports field is commercially naïve, if you’re somebody who does have true value as a household name. Footballers’ faces or images sell products across the world and make huge amounts of money for their club and other major brands. Encompassing this element into a contract, the player is making sure that he receives a percentage of the money other people are making from his image. When a player signs for a club he has two options. Either he seeks to profit from selling his own image rights, or he lets the club use his image in exchange for an annual payment. This payment goes into the player’s ‘image company’, many of which are based offshore. Unsurprisingly, almost all players now opt for the latter.
A leading Football Agents body describes the position as follows:
“The FA players’ contract, if signed without modification, means you are signing away most of your rights to income outside of football, which can be substantial”.
HMRC believes that payments made to players for their image rights are actually a form of disguised wages and clubs are in seemingly endless talks with HMRC over the issue of image rights.
It’s hard to see how such an arrangement (where the club is effectively leasing all or part of the image rights) could be anything but taxable income for the player. This is where the offshore companies come in.
Image Rights are a valuable asset- maximise their value with certainty
It makes sense to license your image or copyright it to exploit its value via an image register, but ensure tax efficiency. It will soon be possible for you to file your image rights in the world’s first image register. If you are interested in this service then register your interest now. Our aim is to deliver a cost effective solution tailored to individual needs.