UEFA Europa League: Final in Germany and the tax consequences for clubs and players

by Dr Joachim Reichenberger LLM EMBA Washington DC USA
5 years after the last UEFA Champions’ League final and even 10 years after the last UEFA Europa League final on German soil, Cologne will host this years’ final tournament due to current Covid-19 pandemic.

This raises various tax issues for the participating clubs, as well as for the football players. The fact that the final round of the UEFA Europa League will be played in Germany will not give rise to any particularities for the players of the German clubs or for the clubs themselves. Both the players and their clubs are usually subject to unlimited tax liability in Germany and, therefore, to their entire worldwide income. Special features will only need to be observed with regard to the taxation procedure.
As for European clubs, as well as for the players of the European clubs, in principle, they are subject to limited tax liability. Irrespective of whether it is income from employment at the level of the athlete or, in the case of an athlete or club, business income, German tax law contains a corresponding tax provision. Furthermore, Germany as the host of the UEFA Europa League final tournament and, therefore, the state of activity, would have the right of taxation, according to Art. 17 OECD Model Convention.

It is only with regard to the remaining teams from Greece and Switzerland that there are no DTTs with a rule which is comparable to Art. 17 (2) OECD Model Convention, so the right of taxation would not be assigned to Germany. But that is not the point.  Since the Champions League Decree was issued by the Federal Ministry of Finance on 20 March 2008, Germany has completely waived its right to taxation on revenues in connection with domestic matches in European team sports competitions for persons with limited tax liability.

That includes the final tournament of the UEFA Europa League as well.
Dr Joachim Reichenberger may be contacted by e-mail: joachim.reichenberger@luther-lawfirm.com