Rooney, Lampard among 100 others in 100-mn pounds tax bill probe

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London, Feb 22 (ANI): Ace Premier League stars like Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard are among around 100 players facing a 100 million pounds tax bill in a probe into their image rights earning.

It centres on a loophole that has allowed players to avoid paying tax chunks of their earnings through image rights payments. This money, which covers the likes of replica shirts sales, and club merchandise, is paid into company accounts so they escape paying income tax.

Some players net up to 30 percent of their wages as image rights, the Daily Star reports.

Rooney, 24, is paid 760,000 pounds a year by Manchester United for his "image" on top of his 90,000 pound-a-week.

Steven Gerrard, 29, and Michael Owen, 30, are among those who have their own promotions companies to handle image earnings. Others include Lampard, 31, Rio Ferdinand, 31, and Joe Cole, 28.

But agents insist their stars' arrangements comply with tax laws. They also warned a clampdown could drive players abroad where tax rates are much lower.

Jon Smith, boss of sports agency First Artist, said: "The Premier League is the most viewed entertainment on this planet - and our penal tax rates are in danger of killing it." (ANI)

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