As Glasgow prepares to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and London this July's Anniversary Games, it has been announced that leading athletes such as Usain Bolt will be exempt from paying income tax at the two events. The London Olympics is the only time the Jamaican has competed in Britain since 2009 because of the rules which were temporarily removed in George Osborne's Budget.
Sports minister, Hugh Robertson, said: "We want to attract the very best athletes, and this helps us do that."
Bolt has already expressed his desire to compete in Glasgow next year and it is hoped the change will encourage him and other high-profile stars to take part in the London Anniversary Games. The Games will be held from 26-28 July at the Olympic Stadium to celebrate the first anniversary of the London 2012 opening ceremony. They will contain a weekend of Diamond League athletics on 26-27 July followed by a day of Paralympic competition on 8 July.
As in most countries, the UK demands a share of any appearance or prize money earned by overseas athletes when they compete here. The UK also asks for a cut of any endorsement income earned by the athletes during their stay. Bolt isn't the only famous sports star who has shunned British events because of the rules with Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal last year deciding not to compete at London's Aegon Championships because of them.
Now athletes will not be required to pay UK income tax on 'all appearance fees, prize money, and endorsement income' at the two events, but they will still be eligible for corporation tax and Value Added Tax (VAT).