What about the others?

Another month goes by and the Spanish authorities hand out another criminal conviction to someone involved in top-level football. This time it is Jose Mourinho that has been handed a one-year suspended jail sentence for tax fraud along with an additional fine of £1.8 million by the Spanish authorities for tax evasion.

The fine equates to 60% of the €3.3 million (£2.9 million) of tax he is found to have avoided paying in 2011 and 2012. This related to image rights held in an offshore company while he was managing Real Madrid, according to reports.

Mourinho had previously paid a £800,000 fine following a probe into his tax affairs in 2015. However, the European Investigative Collaborations Consortium found evidence that incorrect information had been handed to tax investigators at the time. This prompted the case to be reopened.

The Spanish tax authorities have been clamping down hard on tax evasion in football. Former Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo received a two-year suspended prison sentence and a £15 million fine last year. Barcelona legend Lionel Messi was handed a 21 month suspended sentence and a £1.7 million fine in 2016.

The whole issue of image rights is a complex one and I do not intend to cover it here, the question I ask is this “where are the prosecutions for those involved who advised Jose, Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and others to participate in these schemes?” They didn’t come up with this concept on their own, they have neither the time nor skill sets to do so, so why aren’t the authorities hunting down those who are really responsible, the people who will have earned huge commissions for setting these ‘schemes’ up. I don’t see them having their good names splashed all over the press, being handed criminal convictions with suspended jail sentences or being fined. I’m left wondering… isn’t the focus in the wrong place here? 

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