Christian Aid: Football, poverty and tax havens – tackling financial secrecy

May 11th, 2010

From Christian Aid:

LONDON—Christian Aid has teamed up with football supporter groups to highlight the damage caused by the secrecy offered by tax havens – and demand that the rules be changed.

Blowing the Whistle: Time’s Up for Financial Secrecy, reveals how the same tax-haven secrecy that allows football club owners to hide their business practices – and even their identities – is also facilitating massive tax dodging in developing countries.

And while such practices are threatening to ruin the beautiful game, for people in the world’s poorest countries they are a matter of life and death.

Top of the league

Christian Aid has worked with the Football Supporters Federation and fan ownership group Supporters Direct to compile Blowing the Whistle.

At a time when supporters across the land are becoming increasingly concerned about the way their clubs are run, our report reveals how:

  • Manchester United, recently pipped to the Premier League title, still top a new Football Secrecy League.
  • A further 14 Premier League clubs and another 10 from around Britain and Ireland are effectively based in tax havens.

It also explains how financial secrecy means trade-related tax-dodging costs poor countries $160bn every year.

This is one-and-a-half-times the global aid budget, and enough, if used according to current spending patterns, to save the lives of 350,000 children under five.

United cause

The changes needed to tackle financial secrecy in football are the same that are needed to lift the secrecy that affects the developing world.

Those who care about football and those who care about eradicating poverty should unite to demand major rule changes.

Written by Clark Gascoigne

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