Sullivan purge puts Irons in clear on tax probe


davidsullivan_726Claret and Hugh has learned this evening that Hammers co-owner David Sullivan purged West Ham United of any players contracts with image rights when he took over 2010.

And it’s that issue which has lain at the heart of the swoops on clubs across the country by the HMRC last week.

Although image rights deals were still common place amongst Premier League clubs in 2010 we understand Sullivan wanted nothing to do with them and no new player contracts were agreed following the takeover.

It is understood that HMRC did look at player contracts before the Sullivan/Gold takeover in 2010 in its recent raid on the London Stadium with a particular interest in 2009.

Yesterday the club made an official statement to confirm that West Ham players are not paid part of the salary as image rights unlike other Premier League clubs who remain under investigation by the HMRC.

The club confirmed, “In contrast to many Premier League clubs, not a single West Ham United player has any part of his salary paid as image rights.”

At the time of Sullivan’s takeover of West Ham in 2010, Manchester United revealed to its potential investors that it was in litigation with HMRC of £5.3m of image rights which were a potential tax liability. It was also revealed around the same time that Manchester United player Wayne Rooney earned £760,000 a year for his rights as part of his pay package.

Tax disputes over Premier League image rights are nothing new, in the year 2000 HMRC lost a case involving Arsenal FC, David Platt and Dennis Bergkamp. It was the loss of this case which encouraged many clubs to follow suit.

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I am Season Ticket Holder in West stand lower at the London Stadium and before that, I used to stand in the Sir Trevor Brooking Lower Row R seat 159 in the Boleyn Ground and in the Eighties I stood on the terraces of the old South Bank. I am a presenter on the West Ham Podcast called A Blogger on a member of the West Ham Supporters Advisory Board (SAB), Founder of a Youtube channel called Mr West Ham Football at,

I am also the associate editor here at Claret and Hugh.

Life Long singer of bubbles! Come on you Irons!

Follow me at @Westhamfootball on twitter


  • John says:

    Oh dear, sorry haters, looks like Sullivan and Gold are in the clear. I’m sure you’ll find something else to slag off our club with.

  • pabloonechop says:

    Don’t dispute any of the above, but quite why was our club chosen and raided? A raid seems to suggest some serious concerns and presumably to make a raid you need some sort of valid concerns. Can anyone clarify?

  • pabloonechop, I can’t explain exactly why but there is a good chance it relates to Demba Ba which is the connection between Newcastle, West Ham and Chelsea. There seems to be issues involving image rights and payments to agents. From the outside it appears Demba Ba had a simple relegation clause which allowed him to walk away from the Hammer scot free while Newcastle paid over £2m for him to join them. £1m of this was a golden hello in the form of an image rights deal to an offshore company. The other £1m went to various agents and an offshore company in Panama. The suggest is no tax was paid on any of this deal. There is also investigations into French football and in particular Marseille. The deal with Alou Diarra has come under scrutiny. In reality it appears HMRC were granted a 24 hour warrant on the back of the Demba Ba and possibly Alou Diarra case or cases. However, while they were there they took away two big van loads of contracts and transfer paperwork in a fishing exercise. Board was confident they won’t find anything during their time as there is nothing to find I am told. Whether there is some historic issues pre-dating 2010 is open for debate.

    I think the Newcastle and West Ham raids are the first of many as HMRC find reasons to crawl over the contracts and books of all Premier League clubs over the next three years. The tax man has put together a new special football tax team to investigate

  • danielson79 says:

    I read somewhere that over the next 3 years every prem and championship side including the spl will get a similar visit. Loved the way the sun newspaper lead with photos of the O.S. and west ham in the first paragraph of their front page but went on to hardly mention us. They love stickin it to us.

  • mooro66uk says:

    yeah and Dan Moan at the BEEB. Feeble effort to put us in a bad light yet again.

  • pabloonechop says:

    Sean a belated thanks for your response

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