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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Usain Bolt could miss London Anniversary Games 2014

The London Anniversary Games will take place in Glasgow this July, but the participation of global athletics stars such as Usain Bolt is in doubt owing to UK tax rules. British Athletics confirmed this summer's prestigious Diamond League event, which traditionally took place at Crystal Palace but moved to the Olympic Stadium last year to mark the one-year anniversary of London 2012, will be staged at Hampden Park on July 11 and 12. But, while non-resident athletes will be exempt from paying tax during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow two weeks later, participants at the Sainsbury's Glasgow Grand Prix will not currently enjoy similar privileges. Treasury ministers could still decide to grant another temporary exemption, as they did with last year's Anniversary Games and the London 2012 Olympics, but Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) described these cases as 'exceptional'. Bolt, 27, did not compete in the UK in 2010 or 2011 as non-resident athletes are liable for 50 per cent tax on their appearance fee, plus a proportion of their worldwide earnings. He has already committed to complete in Ostrava on June 17, Paris on July 5 and Malmo on August 5, but has yet to confirm whether he will represent Jamaica at the Commonwealth Games. Organisers remain confident, however, that the world's fastest man will run at least the 200 metres, with Bolt admitting last year the event is 'on his to-do list'. A HMRC statement said: 'A tax exemption was granted for non-resident participants in the London Anniversary Games as an exceptional case to support the Olympic Legacy; a similar exemption was granted for non-resident participants at the Commonwealth Games to support the legacy of the Olympics in Scotland.'