Olympic sprint champ can now compete at British Athletics London Grand Prix in July
Usain Bolt’s agent, Ricky Simms, says getting to grips with Britain’s unique tax-related financial penalties is “possibly the best thing” his management agency ever did for the Olympic sprint champion.
In a four-page feature on PACE Management in the latest issue of Athletics Weekly, Simms talks about a UK system that penalises high-earning international sport stars by saying: “We were really on top of that. I remember meetings with UK Athletics and they thought we were crazy and we were right.”
Simms adds: “Usain would have been subject to a huge tax bill if we hadn’t been on that the way we were. No one will ever see that, but that is possibly the best thing we ever did for him by stopping him getting billed for millions of dollars of tax.”
Now, for one night only at least, those rules will not apply and a door has opened for Bolt to compete at the British Athletics London Grand Prix at the Olympic Stadium in late July, if the world 100m and 200m record-holder wishes, of course.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, has offered a “one-off exemption” for Bolt and other overseas athletes to compete at the Olympic Stadium event, mainly so the Government can continue its promise to keep the Olympic legacy alive.
“The Government is determined to do everything possible to secure the Olympic legacy and I am delighted to grant this exemption,” he told the Telegraph.
The meeting is set to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the London 2012 opening ceremony of July 27, but there is speculation that it could be a two-day programme starting on July 26.
The London Grand Prix incorporates the Diamond League and it has been over two days in recent years, with action on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.
If the tax rules had not been lifted for this one meeting, Bolt would have been taxed on not only his fee for the London Grand Prix but also for a percentage of his global sponsorship earnings – a factor that has, with the exception of last year’s Olympics, prevented him competing in the UK in recent years.
Outside the Olympics, Bolt last competed in Britain in 2009 when he raced 150m in the Great City Games in Manchester and then the 100m and 4x100m at the London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace.
He won all those races in great style and UKA, the organisers of the London Grand Prix, will be hoping Bolt will pencil the Olympic Stadium meeting into his 2013 summer schedule.