Simon Reed

Nadal entirely right on UK tax stance

Simon Reed

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Rafael
Nadal has, rather absurdly, been criticised in many quarters for his stand against
playing in the UK over the tax laws.

Nadal
warned British tennis that the high tax rate enforced by the government could
lose London the ATP Finals, and prompt players to play elsewhere as a result.

But
the world number two is entirely right. I want to ask all those who are
criticising Nadal: 'Are you prepared to come to work and lose money?'

It
is a ludicrous situation, and one which cannot be tolerated by the players.

I
would imagine that no one would be willing to travel to a country and ply their
trade, only to find themselves working at a loss.

The
sport in the UK will suffer greatly as a result of the government's refusal to
buckle, and the LTA will be furious with such a state of affairs.

The
UK will lose out globally and it has wider ramifications across all sports as
the likes of Usain Bolt also hold a similar stance.

It
is a very short-sighted position for the government to hold, as whatever money
they make from the players, they will lose in revenue as the profile and
prestige of the top events is greatly diminished.

This
is a significant problem which needs to be addressed imminently before all the
top players decide that they are not willing to participate in UK events.

Have
the government even thought about the next generation of tennis enthusiasts who
have scarce opportunity to watch their stars in action?

The
Queen's Club offers a unique chance for UK tennis fans to watch their heroes
perform every year, and now Nadal will not be among those making an appearance.

I
have a sneaking suspicion that Roger Federer will end up playing at Queen's after
the fall-out of his appearance in Halle last year.

It
would be a fairly seamless swap as Nadal heads for Germany, and the British
public would love to see the Swiss back in action at the grass court event.

It
is also a great shame that the World Tour Finals may end up being moved away
from London as a direct result of the tax laws, as Nadal hinted at.

The
staging of the event at the O2 Arena has been a huge success, and it has been
very well organised with unanimous praise from the players, who love performing
there.

It
would be a travesty if the event were to be moved elsewhere due to the
government's stubborn stance, and it is about time that something is done about
the situation.

British
sport cannot afford to see an effective boycott of its events by the biggest
stars in the world.

Nadal
is entirely vindicated in making his decision, and if anyone is angry about the
situation they should vent their disapproval at the government, not the
Spaniard.

After
all, who would be willing to lose money at work? Nadal is right.

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