Olympic champion runner Usain Bolt said he will not participate in the Crystal Palace Diamond League meet in London next month because of British tax rules.
Bolts advisers say he would have paid the 50 percent tax on the 166,000 pounds he would earn if he won the 100-meter race in August, but he is concerned about being taxed by British authorities for his other earnings outside the U.K., including his endorsement earnings. Im definitely not going to run, he said at a press conference, according to the Associated Press.
According to The Daily Mail, if Bolt competes in one race in the U.K. and five races in other countries, he would be taxed on one-sixth of his earnings. The three-time Olympic medalist plans to compete in Paris later this week at another Diamond League meet for a $250,000 prize. Bolts agent Ricky Simms informed him he would lose money, even if he won the race.
However, the U.K. government may be able to assist the 23-year-old Jamaican runner with his tax quandary. Sports Minister Hugh Robertson told BBC Radio that he would see what he could do. If there is a particular problem, Im happy to look at it and see if I can help, he said, but added, Three weeks doesnt give us a whole lot of time to organize a tax concession.
The tax rules have caused problems for other star athletes in the U.K. The British finance ministry has exempted visiting soccer players from U.K. tax rules in order to hold a Champions League soccer tournament next year in London. Robertson said he has also been approached by various golf and tennis players, and he believes there is a commitment not to tax foreign athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.