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Published by Enhelion, 2019-11-25 01:15:38

ISL_Module 10

ISL_Module 10


The rise of sports in the past few years has been immense in India. The level of Investments
which are being in sports are reportedly less in developing countries, than those compared to
developed countries. Recreational activities, such as sports would not be that high on the list
of priorities of certain countries like our India. Serious studies have been done with the
sampling that the probability of a country’s athletes of wining gold medals at the Olympics
increases in direct proportion to increase in per capita GDP and population.

Therefore, it must note that given that with economic prosperity, rising income levels, and
increasing awareness amongst the populace, sports and sporting events would find increasing
benefit with the Indian population by not just using by using skill and strength but which is
an recreational event too.

IPL which is India’s most successful league, it earns hundreds of crores in its profit on its
annual basis. The rise and success of this league, IPL can be viewed by the fact that the
league earned a profit of Rs 237 crores in its fifth edition. This rise or success of the IPL has
seen a proliferation of interest in the creation or forming such professional leagues sporting
and annual events in other sports as well.

The inaugural edition of the Indian Soccer League, for example, racked up almost 429
million viewers to emerge as a potent television property. The monetization of such interests
viewed has been essential for the continued existence of such leagues and sporting events.
This has led to the adoption of proven revenue models as prevalent in other countries. There
are some chief revenue sources for sporting professional events which include:

The chief sources of revenue for professional sporting events include:

The media rights include: The right to carry and represent certain sport events which are
traditional and also the new media such as television, theatres and radio and internet. The
sale of these both, broadcasting and media rights has now become the biggest way of
increasing the revenue for these sports organizations and generating the money wanted for
financing main, events of sports activities, refurbish sports stadia, and for the contribution for
the developing of sports at beginning levels. From estimated $1.7 billion which was paid by
the broadcasters for exclusive rights to broadcast the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, half of
the amount was given to organizing committee for the sporting events and the other half was
given to the broader Olympic movement which included the; National Olympic Committees
and the international federations for the various Olympic sports.

Moving on to the broadcasters who make from royalties selling off their exclusive footage
which they capture to other media in the markets that helps them in investing in the expensive
organizational and technical undertaking which is involved in broadcasting sport activities to
over millions of fans all over the world. Henceforth, the Beijing Olympic Broadcasting,
which being the host broadcasters for the Beijing Games had supplied the television signals
from all the Olympic venues, deployed 6,000 staff, 1,000 cameras, 575 digital video tape
recorders, 350 broadcast trailers and 62 outside broadcast vans.1

Television rights pertain to the telecast of the shows through terrestrial or satellite television,
whether in one country or over different countries. Television rights are very sacred and
important for the organizers and the telecasters. Television rights are said to amount for about
60% of the income of the Tour de France, which is broadcast in over 180 countries. The
English Premier League which is said to broadcast in 212 countries had sold both domestic
and international television rights for three seasons from the year 2010 to 2013 for an
astonishing value of £3.2 billion.

Theatrical rights, as well as rights to broadcast sports over the radio are some of the most
valuable properties in the business of sports. In the era of advanced internet, the rights to
distribute or share content and images online have become an additional hike in the revenue
stream for sports companies. The importance of these new mediums can be gauged by the


fact that even periodic updates and the right to feature live score feeds of cricket matches
have become hotly contested properties in India.

For most sports organizations, the sale of broadcasting and media rights is now the biggest
source of revenue, generating the funds needed to finance major sporting events, refurbish
stadiums, and contribute to the development of sport at grassroots level. The royalties that
broadcasters earn from selling their exclusive footage to other media outlets enable them to
invest in the costly organizational and technical infrastructure involved in broadcasting sports
events to millions of fans all over the world.

Taxability of income from transfer of broadcasting rights of live matches/race has been a
matter of debate before the Courts/Tribunals. The core issue is whether such right constitutes
a ‘copyright’.2

In 2013, the Delhi Tribunal in the case of Delhi Race Club (1940) Ltd.3 dealt with this issue
where the taxpayer is engaged in the business of horse racing and derived income from
betting, commission, entry fee, stall charges etc. The taxpayer had made payments to other
race clubs whose races were displayed in taxpayer’s club. The Assessing Officer (AO) held
that when a taxpayer pays any amount for getting rights/license to telecast any event which is
a copyright of a particular person (i.e. no one can copy it for direct telecast or deferred
telecast), then the amount so paid is to be treated as royalty and it is covered under Section
9(1)(vi) of the Income-tax Act, 1961.4

The Delhi Tribunal observed that live telecast viewed by various persons cannot be said to be
a work, as ‘work’ is defined in the Copyright Act, 1957 to mean (a) a literary, dramatic,
musical or artistic work; (b) a cinematograph film; and (c) sound recording. Since there was
no creation of any work, as income was generated from betting on the basis of live telecast
and the same was being shared on reciprocal basis, the same cannot be termed as royalty
under the IT Act.5

3 Delhi Race Club (1940) Ltd. v. ACIT (I.T.A. No. 1919/Del/2011)(Del).
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.

In 2011, the Mumbai Tribunal in the case of Neo Sports Broadcast Private Limited6 dealt
with this issue where the taxpayer entered into agreement with the Nimbus Sports
International Pvt. Ltd., a commercial agent of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), for receiving
and broadcasting matches that were to be played in Bangladesh. The Mumbai Tribunal, on
perusal of Copyright Act, 1957, held that cricket matches cannot be equated with either
literary, dramatic, musical, artistic work or sound recording. The ‘copyright’ means exclusive
right to use the ‘work’ in the nature of cinematography. Therefore, the existence of ‘work’ is
a precondition and it must be preceded by the granting of exclusive right for doing such
work. Live telecasting should not be considered as transfer of copyright.7

Under the Copyright Act, the meaning o copyright in the context of cinematograph film
refers to the making a copy of a film and not its original recording therefore, the broadcast of
live telecast could not be equated with the copyright of such film.

The Mumbai Tribunal held that the definition of ‘royalty’ under the Copyright Act does not
include live coverage of any event. The copyright and live coverage is distinct and
independent of each other. The Direct Taxes Code (DTC) 2010 exclusively includes ‘live
coverage of any event’.8

The Mumbai Tribunal had distinguished between broadcasting of live matches and
broadcasting of recorded matches. Unless the broadcasting of live matches are recorded or
stored after completion of live broadcast, it will not get covered under the term ‘copyright’ as
per the Copyright Act.9


It is said that the during the time of FIFA, they had earned a sponsorship of around $ 1.4
Billion at the time in the year 2014 world cup that was held in Brazil. And about $14.35
billion was spend by the marketers on sponsorship of sports and it is said that sports take up
about 70% of all sponsorship business all around the world. In our country, the brands spent
and estimated amount of around Rs 4100 crore on different sports sponsorships in the year of
2013. Sponsorships provide a stable source of income for the federation, league, franchise

6 DIT v. Neo Sports Broadcast (P) Ltd. [2011] 133 ITD 468 (Mum).
7 Ibid.
8 Ibid.
9 Ibid.

and athlete and at the same time provide another way for brands to reach out to potential
customers and clients.

As per GST Law 2017, there is no GST payable on Services by way of sponsorship of
sporting events organised by a national sports federation, or its affiliated federations, where
the participating teams or individuals represent any district, State, zone or Country.

Under GST, a recognized sports body refers to as a federation or a body which regulates a
sport at the international level and its affiliated federations or bodies regulating a sport in

Therefore, based on the above definition, Board of Cricket Council of India (BCCI) is
considered to be a recognized sports body for the purpose of GST.

There are two contracts that a player gets into, one with BCCI and one with the franchise. As
stated above, only the services provided by the players, coach or team manager for
participating in “sporting event” organized by a “recognized sports body” are exempted.
Therefore, the players’ services provided to the team don’t fall under GST Exemptions.
Therefore, as far as IPL is concerned, only a few services (Example: services provided by
umpires directly to BCCI for supporting IPL matches) will be exempted. Rest other services
are liable to GST.11 Sponsorship services provided by BCCI to VIVO Mobile
Communication Device (Dongguan) Co. Ltd is Liable to GST @ 18% under Reverse


Professional sporting leagues make money through the fees of the franchise, that are big
amount of money paid by parties who are interested, in order to secure the rights to handle a
franchise in such a league. Some other events sanctioned such as the cricket world cup,
Olympic games earn revenues for the organizers by way of gate revenues or ticket
fees. Other sources of revenue which are local sources are those such as concession stands,

11 Ibid.
12 Ibid.

restaurants operated by teams in their stadiums, merchandise sales and membership’s
packages offered by them to their patrons.

All sports events organized by recognized sports federations were to attract 28% GST.
However, for recognized sporting meets, 18% GST will be levied.13 Further, any sporting
event other than a recognized sporting event and a
recognised sporting event, where the consideration for admission is not more than Rs 250 per
person is exempted from being taxed under GST.14

In India, taxation of incomes is governed by the government under the Income Tax act, it
provides specific provisions used for taxation of incomes that is earned from sporting events
and performances.


For encouraging and to provide different sports in India and also to promote these sporting
events, the income tax act provides the Incomes made from any sport events held in India to
any person or persons can be fully exempted from Income tax. This can be done based on
approval made by the central government using the provisions in section 10(39) of the
income tax act 1961. As per the section, any specific income arising can be exempted

1. Such event is sanctioned/approved by the international body regulating such sport;

2. The event has the participation of more than two countries; and

3. The event has been notified by the central government in the official gazette for this

This exemption shall extend only to incomes earned specifically from such events and to no
to any other incomes earned by the organizers of such sporting events. Incomes exempted
may include gate revenues, sponsorship money etc.

13 Narain Swamy, ‘Tickets to sports evenrs attract up to 28% tax’ (TimesofIndia)
tax/articleshow/59379744.cms accessed on 13th June 2019.
14 Sanchit Malik, ‘How GST will impact event industry in India?’ (July 2017)
impact-on-event-industry-india/ accessed on 12th June 2019.

All international sports events that are held in India do not have any tax due to these
provisions. The incomes of of sport persons and the organizers from other income sources
that are not covered under the exemption notification follow the general law of taxation and
are taxed normally.

The International Cricket Council gets tax exemption from member nations for conducting
global events but it didn't get any for the 2016 World T20 as Indian tax laws don't allow any
such leeway. ICC chairman Shashank Manohar has told the BCCI that as per its rules, the
Indian board will have to pay the tax liability in case it is not able to get tax exemption.15

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been asked by the International Cricket
Council (ICC) to bear a tax liability to the tune of USD 21 million (Rs 150 crore) for
conducting future global events like the 2021 World T20 and 2023 ODI World Cup.16


Professional sports leagues, such as the IPL and other “premier” leagues that have been
introduced in the past few years are done to enhance profit ventures and are sometimes but
not always exempted by the government for tax

Due to lack of recognition they receive from the government, often forces these leagues to
adopt other structures which involve various entities, offshore and local that helps in
increasing compliance but reduces tax.

Other sports bodies such as various sports federations work without profit motives, more
often than not, and are therefore organized as non-profit entities in the form of trusts that
have exempt status in the form of Section 12A registration under the income tax act.


15 ‘BCCI to bear tax burden for 2021 T20 World Cup, 2023 World Cup if no tax exemption’ (March 3, 2019,
2023-world-cup-if-no-tax-exemption-1469576-2019-03-03 accessed on 12th June 2019.
16 Ibid.

The rise in the sport events and the creation of sporting leagues has with it made an increase
in income for sport persons There are different sections in place that govern the taxation of
resident, and non-resident sportspersons, these have been addressed respectively below.


Indian tax law mentions for the taxation in India for all incomes that are earned by its
residents regardless where that income was earned from. There are many scenarios which
affect the tax rates of the incomes made by sport persons. The circumstances of this is taken
into consideration and then the classification of incomes can be made, classified as incomes
from business , profession, salaries, etc.

This classification is important as the expenses made can be reduced or removed from the
earnings made from profession and business, whereas no deductions are made under other
heads of incomes. Coming to Salaries, they allow for specific structuring that lets the
deduction of the eventual tax burden while no additional reductions are available for incomes
from any other sources

In terms of prevailing law, all earnings made in foreign that are earned by resident sportsmen
are taxable in India, this can be explained with an example:

Mr. Woods who is a celebrity golfer is an Indian resident, he has lived in India for more than
190 days. Woods roams around the world for the participating in the game of golf
tournaments and earns the following things during the year:

▪ Sponsorship money from his sponsors based in the UK

▪ Appearance fee received from the organizers of golf tournaments in US and South

▪ Prize money from a golf tournament that he wins in Canada

▪ Fee for acting in an advertisement for a company situated in India
As he is an Indian resident, the total amount of his international earnings can be taken into
considerations is taxable in India.

Whereas the sponsorship fee, prize money and appearance fee may be considered taxable as
profit and gains from business and profession and expenses allowed to be reduced from such
incomes, the department may take a view that fee for acting in advertisements is income from
other sources and no expenses may be allowed for the same.


Incomes earned in India by non-resident sportspersons, who are also not citizens of the
country, are taxed in accordance with the provisions of section 115BBA of the income tax act
1961. Section 115BBA provides for the taxation of incomes earned by way of participation in
India in game, advertisement or contribution of articles in newspapers, magazines journals
etc, by any sportsperson who is neither a citizen of India nor a resident of the country. The
provision in the same way also applies to the non-resident sports associations or institutions
and entertainers who make money from their performances in India.

As per the section, incomes earned by the aforementioned category of assesses shall be
subject to tax at a flat rate of 20% in India without any deductions in terms of any money
used for expenditure of allowances under any other section.

Looking at the case of non-residents, it is important to study the sections related to double
taxation avoidance agreements as they are applicable under section 90(2) of the income tax
act and are used whenever needed.

DTAAs usually specify a separate article (article 17 as per the model convention) that deals
with incomes of entertainers and sportspersons who perform internationally. The model
convention as well the most DTAAs entered into by India provide for taxation of incomes
earned at the country of source, which for the purposes of this study is India. According to
the article 17(1), the incomes made by the sportspersons by giving interviews, articles, press
conferences etc. shall also be deemed to be known or considered with the performances of the
sportspersons and shall be subject to tax in the country of source.

The incomes made by agents of sportsmen and others on behalf or absence of the
sportspersons are also taxable in the country. The actual incomes of these sport persons
remain outside the scope of both 115BBA of the domestic statue as well as article 17. In
terms of star companies, where where any sportsperson is given a salary instead of payments

for separate performance, half the salary earned for the performance in that country will be
liable to tax of that country.

Star companies, or entities formed in low tax jurisdictions to avoid taxes by way of diverting
incomes from the sportspersons themselves and tax them in the hands of such entities instead
of the sportspersons have been addressed by way of clause 17(2) of the model convention
which stipulates that the incomes of such companies be taxed in the country of source. Clause
17(2) can also be used as a source of tax in the level of the team as portion of the
performance earnings that cannot be taxed by individual performers, except if the team has
permanent establishment in that country.

Image rights are the expression of a personality in the public domain. The provision of image
rights in law enables the definition, valuation, commercial exploitation and protection of
image rights associated with a person.17

The image of an athlete is clearly an asset with commercial value. The commercial value of
the sports celebrity image lies within, it is the athlete’s own, personal goodwill and it can be a
lucrative money earner for athletes. Image rights are capable of generating revenue streams
and cash flows and they are assets capable of being sold or licensed on their own and they
arise out of contractual or other legal rights.18

An athlete can exploit his or her image rights by entering into a variety of commercial deals
that include an athlete’s name, nicknames, likeness, image, photograph, signature, autograph,
initials, statements, endorsement, physical details, voice and other personal characteristics.

It is important to note though, that unlike a copyright, a sports celebrity’s image is an
exhaustive asset. While it may seem like certain celebrities push the limit, i.e. pre-scandal
Tiger Woods, David Beckham, or nowadays Ronaldo, none can lend their name to an infinite
number of companies or products.19

17 ‘What is a brand and what are image rights?’ (Nov 1, 2017)
is-a-brand-and-what-are-image-rights/ accessed on 12th June 2019.
18 Ibid.
19 Ibid.

Income from image rights ie name, signature or personal image, if related to performance is
the income covered under Article 17 of the OECD Model Tax Convention and is liable to be

In the case of: Agassi v. Robinson, it was held that endorsement incomes paid by non-
resident companies which are received by a non-resident sportsperson for specific
performances in the UK shall be proportionally subject to taxation in the UK to the extent
that such payments pertain to the performances in UK.

Therefore, any revenues earned by a sportsperson for endorsement etc. for a non-resident
entity can be taxed in the country where such activities are performed.

In addition to the above-mentioned articles 17(1) and 17(2) most tax treaties signed by India
also include article 17(3) by way of which India reserves the right to exempt from the
purview of articles 17(1) and 17(2) any incomes made professionally by sportspersons for
performances that are supported by public funds. In such cases, the right to tax shall lie with
the country of residence and not the country of source.

The sportspersons who are non-residents and are earning incomes from sources in India, they
get a permanent account number (PAN) that allows for reductions made from their earnings
to be linked to their name. There are no criteria for the filing of income tax returns where
only incomes subject to section 115BBA have been earned and appropriate tax has been
deducted thereon.

On the other hand, sportspersons are advised to obtain a tax clearance certificate from the
relevant tax authorities before their departure from India in conformity with section 230 of
the income tax act.

Five accounting and tax challenges testing the sports industry

20 Article 17, OECD Model Tax Convention.
21 ‘Taxation of Entertainers and Sportspersons’
Sportspersons-11112017.pdf accessed on 12th June 2019.

Revenue recognition, stadium contracts, and more
Sports industry accounting and tax professionals undergo the pressure as new guidance’s are
imposed on them by Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) for revenue recognition
and leases takes control.
Deals for stadium and arena and contracts that are existing with sponsors, media rights
holders, and licensees could be significantly impacted.
There are some key tax and accounting topics as mentioned above:

Explore the challenges
The professional sports industry is not yet accustomed to the new challenges that come into
force with the application of accounting principles and tax regulations. Teams and leagues are
struggling with revenue being appointed accurately, and optimizing franchise ownership
structure. Accounting for player contracts and signing bonuses, especially when an athlete is
traded or released is a complicated time.

Accounting and tax decisions are said to be more complex in the coming years as the FASB
implements new guidelines for the recognition of revenue and leases.

New revenue recognition criteria
Companies must be ready and prepared to implement the FASB’s time to time guidelines
which, their new revenue recognition model that takes effect for the annual reporting period
that starts from the beginning of December for public enterprises. after December of the year,
for non-public entities. The standard’s new rule and guideline is for revenue recognition that
applies to all industries. There are many different considerations for sports properties, given
their array of revenue streams such as sponsorships, media rights, and burgeoning digital

The recognition of revenue remains a key importance for the purposes of income, given the
number of potential revenue streams and the advance cash payments typically received.
Deferred balances of revenue in acquisitions and divestitures of sports ventures can be
particularly a complicated boom, as most of the time, the liability assumed is the cost to
perform the task rather than the actual deferred revenue amount mentioned on the target
company’s balance sheet before purchase accounting.


Taxation in India – Sportsmen

1. The Income-tax Act, 1961 which is the domestic law, says that in , in case of any sports
person or artist who is participating in any such event , the incomes made or arising out of
these events, which may be either made or received in India, are therefore deemed to be
taxable in India. The earnings made as incomes by non-resident sportspersons, who are not
Indian citizens, or the incomes made by these non-resident sports associations or ventures
are required to be under section 115BBA of Income tax act, 1961.

In the case of the sportspersons, this includes all the earnings made by way of
participation in the country in any game or sport, ranging from advertisement or the
contribution to any such newspapers, magazines or journal of any articles relating to
activities or sporting events in India.

The tax must be reduced under section 194E from such earnings. The provisions of section
115BBA would be used to guarantee income receivable by the non-resident sports
association. The payment, a of guarantee money to non-resident sport associations needs
to be considered in terms of the Article on Other income or on Income not expressly
mentioned of the relevant DTAA.

2. In addition to same, the Central Government is empowered by section 10(39) of the
Income Tax Act, 1961 to exempt any international sporting event being held in India from
taxing. These kinds of exceptions are usually allowed when the event which is being
organized is of international importance and being held by an internationally recognized
authority. Examples of such exemptions were given to the World Cup organized by
International Cricket Council (ICC), The Commonwealth Games New Delhi 2010 and the
F1 race event held in Noida in later half of 2011.

3. In the case of non-residents, in addition to the provisions of the Income-tax Act, 1961, the
applicability of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) should be examined,
since as peer Section 90 (2) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 the provisions of the DTAA shall
apply to the extent they are more beneficial. Under the DTAAs, usually there is a separate
Article on Artists and Sportsmen, which often provides for source-based taxation in India
of the income from the personal activities of the sportsmen or artists in India.

The income earned from personal activities or events that is made to another individual and
not directly to the artists or sportsmen, it is still taxable in India. The income made by
sponsorship or advertising, etc by the sportsman or artists, which is directly or indirectly
related to performance or appearance in the country will also be taxable.
Where, under the same contract or under a separate one, the performance is recorded and
royalties are stipulated to be paid, the same would be covered under the Article on
Royalties in the DTAA. Problems relating to the application of service tax also fall under
income earned from sponsorship or advertising in India.
4. The tax residency of sportsman and artistes faces another challenge, they always travel
around the world and often end up being residents of tax for more than one country and
sometimes they are liable to no country at all. This leads to many tax problems including
the eligibility of a sportsperson or artist for benefits of DTAA as well as issues relating to
which country has the first or actual right to tax a particular source of income.

Immigration laws

Sports and its individuals cannot be bound by any international, regional or national
boundaries. Sportspeople from different nations keep travelling to different locations around
the world throughout the year to participate in different sporting events and functions. As we
know, free migration from one country to another is only possible when an individual takes
the requisite measures and most importantly, the right category of permit or allowance, which
in technical jargon is called as a visa. It is important to note that often immigration issues
arise on account of persons travelling on an incorrect or wrong category of visa.

There are many legal problems which may arise in the future in context to a sportsman who is
a citizen of Indian origin (PIO), non-resident Indian (NRI) or a foreigner playing for Indian
clubs. For example, a person born to an African mother and an Indian father and living in
India and playing for a football club in India, is considered ineligible to play for the Indian
national football team as the applicable rules needed for a member of the team to be a citizen
of India. Issues like this are not far-fetched in an ever-expanding global world.

Regulatory Framework

Recently there has been a lot of debate in the National Sports Development Bill 2011 (2011
Bill). The preamble of the 2011 Bill says that the bill has been introduced to enjoy the spirit
of sport and fair play, imbibed the philosophy of Olympism.

Considering the fact that there are many sports federations, authorities and associations in
India, like the All India Football Federation, Indian Hockey Federation, All India Tennis
Association etc, the Government introduced the 2011 Bill to regulate such federation and
associations. The 2011 Bill was formed not with the intention to transgress into the
independence of these sport authorities but for the use to put use the practice of good
governance accepted around the globe in the Indian scenario.
The Bill of 2011 intends to promote sports and infrastructure related to Indian sports. The
2011 Bill also intends to talk about the problems related to:

• sexual harassment
• age fraud
• impediments to Right to Information
• speedy resolution of sport disputes
• anti-doping
• transparency
• good governance
Therefore, the Bill of 2011 was rejected by the cabinet of ministers and has since then
undergone several changes.

Presently each of these mentioned federations and authorities have their own set of rules and
regulations and guidelines that govern different aspects relating to each sport and the
sportsmen associated with the respective sport. These rules, regulations and byelaws are the
key importance of legal interpretation on occasions of issues arising between sportspersons or
between sportspersons and authorities.

Hence, there it is a strongly felt that a central legislation is needed to regulate the conduct of
sports, sportsmen and sports officials in the country. The strong need for development of
legal specialization in the world of sports, with the economics needed for sports today in
addition with the movement towards professionalization.

Legal and contractual issues in the sports area tend to increase in the coming years,
considering that the unique sports nature which as a profession and the life of these
sportspersons, the issues are said to increase in novel circumstances. Also, correct

supervision of guidance and control is much needed by the government so that the world of
sports in the country can grow accordingly in the correct manner.

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