TAX & LEGAL ASSISTANCE LINES FOR SPORTS OPERATORS
The history of team sports has always been characterized by the fragile balance between passion and results.
Players end up being actors forced to play an unknown theatrical work, with a script to be created, in front of opponents who do everything to prevent them from performing.
Over the years, from simple moments of aggregation, team sports have become important businesses, up to the point of representing, both directly and indirectly, strategic sectors of the national economy.
Taking care of the juridical and legal aspects of the relationships that arose within this framework becomes a fundamental aspect: the contractual link between the team and the athlete, financial fair play, the limits to the mandate of the sports attorney, managers’ liability, the necessary adequacy of the organizational structure of clubs, the prevention of tax offences.
Starting from its long experience in the indicated areas of assistance and consultancy, Studio Ferrajoli Tax&Law Firm has created a dedicated service line, animated by a team of professionals with multidisciplinary skills and experience of specialization in the international field.
a) Professional Sports Clubs.
The clubs affiliated to the professional sector of a National Sports Federation are governed by Law no. 91/1981. Athletes, sports directors, coaches and trainers can qualify as professionals only if they have a collaboration or employment contract with a professional sports club.
The consultancy activities for the benefit of sports clubs are affected by specificities related to the exclusive connection with sporting activity, the necessary affiliation to a National Federation recognized by the CONI, the allocation of a share of the profits to the youth sector and to technical-sports training.
Studio Ferrajoli guarantees its advice to sports clubs, with specific expertise gained in team sports, also ensuring assistance in civil, tax and criminal-tax disputes.
b) Amateur Sports Clubs.
Amateur Sports Clubs represent a very widespread legal form for sports practice.
They can access to various tax benefits, provided that they operate on a non-profit basis and in full compliance with the main provisions of Law no. 289/2002.
In this perspective, the statutory provisions, the discipline of relations between the Association and its members and the ways in which the dedicated sports facilities are used are of fundamental importance.
Studio Ferrajoli offers its consultancy activity for the preparation of adequate statutory rules and for the drafting of operating regulations of the non-profit organization concerned. With a qualified team of professional experts, the Firm guides customers in the necessary procedures of affiliation to the CONI and for the preparation of contracts aimed at regulating the use of infrastructures for sports practice and the collaboration of subjects engaged in the related competitive activities.
c) Coaches and Athletes .
In team sports, the free transferability of the athlete at the end of the contract, with the possibility in the six months before the deadline even to develop agreements with the future club, has opened the scenario to a series of problems, with impact on sports profiles (preventing small companies from optimizing the sale of their nursery samples) and on the balance evidences, forcing the teams concerned to lightning-fast depreciation, true motive of the recurrent scandals regarding “inflated” sales and fictitious capital gains.
The value of an athlete or a coach, the management of the relative rights of image and their civil and fiscal treatment, exclusive advertising and sponsorship contracts, the correct management of revenues directed to their agents and representatives, the management of samples of the club nursery: on these issues, often slippery, Studio Ferrajoli offers a qualified and secure advice and its assistance to customers, also in the related civil and tax disputes.
d) Managers and Attorneys.
The recent reform of the regulatory framework aimed at regulating the activity of sports agent requires an in-depth knowledge of the rules on representation of athletes and sports clubs, the principles ruling the sporting mandate and the further provisions governing the activities of the sports worker, being including the technical director, the sports director and the race director. For such figures, there is no distinction of sector, professional or amateur, requiring the norm the mere exercise of sports activities towards a consideration.
There are numerous unresolved issues on the subject, including the correct allocation and the related tax treatment of the fees for the sports agent, which are associated with the recurrent critical issues related to the treatment of remuneration for sports directors.
Studio Ferrajoli offers legal advice for the correct framing of relations between clubs, athletes and sports agents, providing dedicated opinions and taking care of the drafting of the related contractual arrangements. The Firm also assists its clients in tax disputes and civil cases, relating to the matters in question.
a) Contractual advice.
Establishing the rules of engagement is the foundation of any contractual agreement and it is, even more so, in contexts such as team sport, where multiple and opposed are the interests to be mediated. The linearity of the agreements, their absolute adherence to the current legislative and regulatory framework and their connected ability to regulate the relationship for the future are indispensable factors, which must be taken care of effectively and promptly.
And this not only for the natural and effective regulation of internal relations, but also for the purposes of necessary transparency towards third parties and Financial Administration, to which full evidence of the economic arrangements and their regulatory purposes must be offered.
Specifically, Studio Ferrajoli:
- draws up and reviews the contracts between athletes and sports clubs;
- provides specific contractual appendices to regulate the exploitation of image rights and revenues from advertising and sponsorship.
b) Financial Statement Analysis.
In the civil law field, the financial statements represent the main document through which an entity with legal personality (whether company or association) discloses the uses, resources and margins of profitability of its business. In the sporting world, such evidence is of vital importance, in the light of the introduced principles of financial fair play, the rules of assessment of athletes, the rules on depreciation, the non-profit requirement of associations, the necessary transparency of part of the profits for the development of the youth sector, the growing phenomenon of the listing of sports clubs on the MTA markets.
With dedicated attention to the issues described, Studio Ferrajoli:
- carries out financial statement analysis to assess the value of the company concerned;
- carries out estimation procedures on balance sheet items;
- performs specific due diligence on the reference company;
- extrapolates and monitors financial statement ratios to ensure compliance with financial fair play;
- develops specific procedures for the correct assessment of the normal value of the athlete.
c) Tax consultancy and Business Organizational Models.
The world of sports teams is often the subject of numerous disputes regarding the correct tax classification of complex and recurring cases. In this context, the taxation of sports clubs, whether professional or amateur, the taxation of professional income, with the long-standing issues of premiums and remuneration, tax credit for advertising and for the modernization of sports facilities represent only part of a series of issues on which the legislator has been carrying out for years re-looking interventions.
In this regard, Studio Ferrajoli:
- implements and updates business organizational models and tax control framework systems, with specific reference to the establishment of dedicated procedures for the prevention of tax offences;
- draws up opinions for the correct tax treatment of income received by athletes who are resident abroad or who hold movable and real estate assets abroad.
d) Assistance in tax and criminal-tax litigation.
The not always linear and documented application of the complex rules governing team sports can expose interested parties to criminal, administrative and tax disputes.
The most recurrent cases concern investigations for fraudulent or unfaithful declarations, millionaire investigations for higher taxes due, penalties for failure to indicate foreign income in the RW framework.
In these sectors, Studio Ferrajoli:
- assists companies, associations and individuals in the active repentance of tax omissions and the incorrect application of sectoral legislation;
- assists taxpayers in tax assessment agreements following the assessment of higher taxes by the Fiscal Authorities;
- defends companies, associations and sports workers in tax and criminal-tax disputes arising from the notification of assessment notices or disputes regarding tax and corporate crimes.