Premier League defends image rights agreement
The Premier League has insisted tax arrangements star players have in place regarding their image rights are "legitimate" after reports suggested a "secret deal" had been struck.
The Daily Mail alleges HM Revenue & Customs negotiated an agreement with Premier League clubs so that they could pay up to a fifth of their footballers' wages to image rights companies.
The deal - which is completely legal - allows footballers to reduce their income tax bills and clubs to decrease their National Insurance contributions.
However, the Premier League has responded by saying the arrangement "has been in place for many years" and defended players' tax contributions.
A statement read: "The newspaper story regarding the legitimate tax arrangements players have in place concerning their image rights are neither a new development or newly reported.
"The Premier League worked with HMRC to agree how to tax the small proportion of their overall income attributable to image rights.
"Image rights as a source of income are established and recognised in the UK and around the world, a practice that has been in place for many years.
"The tax paid by Premier League players is both substantial and transparent. The latest available figures from the 2014-15 season show that £891million was paid directly by players as part of an overall contribution to the Exchequer of £2.4billion a year from Premier League activity."