1 March 2021
Jesse Norman tables regulations for income tax exemptions for the UEFA Euro 2020 final tournament

Jesse Norman tables legislation for an income tax exemption in relation to the UEFA Euro 2020 final matches to be hosted at Wembley stadium in London and Hampden Park in Glasgow which was a necessary condition of a bid to host the event.

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Jesse Norman)

I beg to move,

That the draft Major Sporting Events (Income Tax Exemption) Regulations 2021, which were laid before this House on 11 January, be approved.

The draft regulations before us provide an income tax exemption for accredited non-resident individuals who perform duties or services in the UK in relation to the rescheduled UEFA Euro 2020 final tournament. The exemption will apply to any income that an individual receives for duties and services performed in connection with the UK-hosted matches of the final tournament between specific dates in June and July 2021.

The Euros 2020 final tournament ranks second only to the World cup in prestige in the world of football. From 11 June this year, the world’s attention will focus on this tournament, which will be held across 12 European cities as part of the celebration of the tournament’s 60th anniversary. In particular, there will be matches hosted at Wembley stadium in London and Hampden Park in Glasgow, as 24 nations compete to be the champions of Europe.

I am sure that hon. and right hon. Members will be aware of the Government’s commitment to making the UK an attractive location—perhaps the most attractive location for football—in which to host world-class events. Successive Governments have provided income tax exemptions for major sporting events of this kind. Following the success of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic games, which showcased the UK’s ability to host major events, statutory tax exemptions have been provided for other world-class events, including the 2013 and 2017 UEFA Champions League finals, the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth games and the 2017 World Athletics championships. I am confident that Members across the House will agree that it is in keeping with Government policy to provide a similar exemption for this exceptional event.

The draft regulations make use of the powers introduced in the Finance Act 2014 that enable the Treasury to make regulations providing for an income tax exemption in relation to a major sporting event. As the UK continues to be at the forefront of hosting world-class events, I would like to emphasise that the policy conditions, as they are described in the Treasury, for providing a tax exemption are the same as those that have been applied for previous events.

Mr Deputy Speaker, you will be aware that a tax exemption is reserved only for the most exceptional events, with consideration on an event-by-event basis. In order to be considered for a tax exemption, an event must satisfy three conditions: it must demonstrate the highest level of world sport; it must be internationally mobile; and the granting of the exemption must be a necessary condition of a bid to host the event. I am positive that the House will agree that the UEFA Euros final tournament falls well within those criteria.

If I may, I will turn to the details of the regulations. An exemption from UK income tax will apply to non-resident players, officials and certain other UEFA-accredited individuals in respect of income arising in connection with the UK-hosted matches of the final tournament. 

The exemption will apply to income arising from duties and services performed in the UK between 1 June and 13 July. That allows for 10 days before the event commences, so that the exemption can cover any duties performed in connection with the matches held in the UK, such as advance planning or training camps.

The income tax exemption for the 2021 Euros supports our commitment to make the UK a global leader for world-class major sporting events and demonstrates what we can achieve across the breadth of the UK. I am sure that these regulations and the objective they serve will enjoy cross-party support. I hope colleagues will therefore join me in supporting these regulations, which I commend to the House.


And at the conclusion of the debate


Jesse Norman 

It is testimony to the unifying quality of football as a game that we can have such a unanimity of view across the different nations of this country. I thank the hon. Member for Ealing North (James Murray) for the Opposition’s support. I also thank the hon. Member for Glenrothes (Peter Grant) for his and his party’s support; I am not going to comment on the relative order in the finals between England and Scotland, but we shall see. I thank very much the hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon), who asks if we will consider a few more days of relief. I thank him for his question. He has put it on the record here in Parliament, and we will of course give it consideration.

It is a great sadness to me personally that it is unlikely that the England team will feature any members of the Hereford FC team, now making their way triumphantly towards the finals—I hope, in due course—of the FA trophy, but I can say that Members of this House will, I hope, have the joy of seeing players of the quality of a Kane, a Rashford, a Mount, a Calvert-Lewin and a McTominay. With that, I hope that we can all have a fantastic tournament, ably supported by our tax system.