It has been revealed this week that Usian Bolt, dubbed the fastest man on earth, has pulled out of the Crystal Palace Grand Prix; one of the biggest races in the UK this year.
Due to current legislation, the taxman takes a cut of any global sponsorship income and prize money earned on UK soil.
Usian Bolt does not win a great deal of money anyway and so this, seemingly unfair, legislation has proved a good enough reason to not take part in UK races.
Racing winnings are merely a small percentage of winnings in other major sporting events such as Wimbledon.
UK Athletics have stated they are disappointed for both Usian Bolt and for fans.
Bolt is claimed to have referred to London as his ‘home from home’ and has always loved the great reception he gets whenever he performs in the UK.
It is a shame that British fans miss out on the opportunity to see such great talent in action so close to the Olympic Games due to held in London in 2012.
However, this is a major issue that all major sporting events in the UK is facing.
UK Athletics are working alongside other sporting associations in order to try to find a resolution to the problem.
Roger Federer, tennis ace, has never taken part in Queen’s which is held just one week prior to Wimbledon.
Federer is reported to shun UK events in order to avoid paying HMRC tax.
The Ryder Cup, a major golfing event, is due to be held in Wales in October but it is feared that many foreign players will pull out owing to concerns about losing money.
The UK government, however, were forced to amend the legislation for the Champions League final to be held in the UK in 2011.
The law has also been changed for the 2012 Olympics as thousands of foreign athletes are expected to flock to UK shores.
Rumours have surfaced that ministers are considering a Major Events Bill which would give sporting events an exemption from the legislation in order to avoid ruining the UK’s reputation and ability to hold large sporting events.
It has been reported that foreign sports fan and players spent an estimated £2bn per year in the UK which, if the UK fail to attract big sports stars, could have a devastating effect on the economy.
Foreign fans won’t travel to the UK if they can’t support their athletes or players.
It seems that something desperately needs to be done in order to help both the economy and our status as being able to hold sporting events.
We hope that ministers do manage to come up with an exemption to please foreign sports stars and give them the opportunity to compete on British soil.