Italy and the European Commission agree upon ?Football Saviour Decree?

The European Commission and the Italian Government are reported to have reached an agreement on the changes to the special tax rules introduced by Law no. 27 of February 2003 (so-called “Football Saviour Decree”) which were held by the Commission to constitute a State Aid (see our website news of 15 December 2003). As described in our previous news, according to the European Commission the special method for the deduction for tax purposes of the write-downs in value of the pluri-annual rights under the contracts between the clubs and the sportsmen (as an exception to the general tax rule of full deduction in the year the loss in value is recognised for accounting purposes) could constitute a State Aid violating Article 87 of the EC Treaty.

The Italian Government has agreed to modify the Football Saviour Decree to the effect of abolishing these special tax deduction rules. The write-downs described above will therefore be deductible according to the general tax rules applicable to all taxpayers in the year they are realized. As a result of these changes the European Commission is expected to abandon the infringement procedure against Italy with respect to the State Aid aspects. The accounting treatment of sportsmen?s contracts set forth by the Football Saviour Decree is instead still under the scrutiny of the European Commission as a possible infringement of the EC IV Directive on the drafting of companies’ Annual Accounts.