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Lifestyle

February 4, 2013

Why is Beckham sitting on the bench for nothing?

(Continued)

Some wondered if Beckham was trying to avoid the notoriously sticky fingers of the French state with his plans to donate his salary.

But Sandra Hodzic, a tax lawyer with Salans, said the deduction an individual can take on such contributions is limited. Instead, it would be smarter for PSG to directly donate the salary — and take a big tax break in the process.

Doing so would have an added benefit for the club: UEFA, the governing body for European football, mandates that clubs break even. The donation could allow PSG to essentially write off Beckham’s entire salary — a huge help for a team notorious for mega-contracts.

Beckham, meanwhile, would be better off trying to avoid becoming a French tax resident at all. So far, Hodzic said, he is making all the right moves: His family is staying in London, he plans to live only part-time in the country for less than six months, and his primary source of income —whether or not he donates his salary — isn’t being earned in France.

Beckham’s agent did not return calls for comment on specifics of the contract.

Still, the charitable contribution has raised the question about what Beckham is getting out of the deal. For one, he likely is still getting a cut of rights to his image. Jerseys with his name on them were already selling out at the PSG store on the Champs-Elysees on Friday.

Cashmore, who wrote a book called “Beckham,” calls him a “marketing phenomenon” and estimates that about 70 percent of Beckham’s income comes from endorsement deals — with Adidas, for instance. That makes salary almost irrelevant — especially for a man estimated by the Sunday Times Rich List to be worth 160 million pounds ($253 million).

But the football feeds the endorsements, Cashmore says.

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