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Pompey is due to appear in the High Court in a bid to defend themselves against HMRC in a widely publicised battle in relation to image rights paid to players.

Every football, rugby and cricket club who give their players an image rights payment as part of their salaries will be waiting with baited breath to see the outcome of the case.

The taxman is pursuing Pompey for £18.2m in ‘unpaid taxes of the image rights of certain players’. Several other clubs are also currently in dispute with HMRC over their own image rights arrangements.

The case provides a platform for a legal precedent for the entire UK sporting industry, something HMRC know only too well.

HMRC are confident they can persuade the court that Portsmouth Football Club has been avoiding their tax liabilities.

HMRC will use Sol Campbell’s alleged contract with Portsmouth which entitled him to £1.67m per year in image rights payments.

As Pompey only raked in £7.2m annually in merchandising and sponsorship, it means that one pound in every five the club received was, purportedly, paid into Campbell’s offshore account.

This, as you can imagine, is a very important date for all professional sporting clubs. However, judging by Pompey’s form both on and off the pitch during the last year, they may wish that someone else was involved in this ever so important test case.

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