Bad Advice

If you are involved at the highest level of professional sport the chances are you’ll be earning good money, in a few cases, substantial money and that makes you a target. It’s always simple with hindsight and it’s easy to be critical but if you’re inexperienced in financial matters and often very young, you are prey to unscrupulous individuals who are far more interested in what they can earn from you than they are in looking out for your best interests.

A classic example is the ill-fated film investment scheme. Promoted heavily to well-known figures in professional sports as ‘Tax Management’ this and other similar schemes have now been declared by HMRC as ‘Tax Avoidance’ and as a consequence, it is believed at least 129 top UK footballers have faced crippling tax bills and in some cases have been forced to file for bankruptcy.

As we’ve said it’s easy to be critical and we’ve seen many reports on social media suggesting players involved “get what they deserve for tax dodging” however when you examine the facts, the reality of the situation is far removed from what has been reported in the mainstream media. It became clear to us that the footballers we have spoken to were victims of a breach of trust at the very least.

One such affected ex-footballer to come forward publically is the former Newcastle United star and now manager of Gateshead  FC, Steve Watson, who is now warning young football players to trust the right people with their finances after bad investment led to him being declared bankrupt.

In a January 2018 article of the Evening Chronicle Steve Watson said he has “nothing to be ashamed of” and added that dozens of players and other celebrities had fallen victim to the same scheme.

Mr Watson made the investment when he was in his early twenties and was drawn to the scheme as he is an avid film fan. His involvement led him to review scripts for film companies and research in which areas of the world certain movies might perform well.

He added: “The people who invested your money are now nowhere to be seen and you are left with unpayable bills. It’s the Government and HMRC who are closing these loopholes. They were not sold as tax avoidance, they were tax management.”

Mr Watson said: “You have to have the right people looking after you both within your career and the right people looking after your finances.”

At IYE Global we thoroughly investigate such promotions and investments providing our clients with comprehensive due diligence reports with an intelligence overlay. In plain language, we tell our clients if they are safe to proceed, or if they should avoid becoming involved. Our advice is always impartial as we have no connection to and therefore no benefit from any such promotion or investment.