It is understood that many leading Premier League clubs, including Manchester City and Chelsea, have used EFRBS Ė employer-financed retirement benefit schemes Ė in order to make their offers to players even more attractive. Completely legal, the scheme allows players to sacrifice up to 50 per cent of their wages at source to be placed in a trust that is set aside for their retirement.
It was first used by City bankers to avoid paying tax on their bonuses but has become very popular with footballers after the Inland Revenue closed down the "image rights" loophole that was used to great effect in the late 1990s and early part of the last decade to give predominantly foreign players tax relief.
The EFRBS scheme also allows clubs to save on National Insurance payments Ė an extra 12.8 per cent on top of the player's salary Ė because the money is paid straight into an EFRBS and is therefore not liable. With wage costs going inexorably upwards for the elite players, fuelled by City's willingness to break the wage ceiling, clubs are increasingly looking around for more tax-efficient ways of paying their players.
Industry experts believe that there is a very good chance that Wayne Rooney's new deal at Manchester United, understood to earn him up to £200,000 a week including bonuses, would have included an EFRBS. It would potentially mean that the Manchester United striker will have a substantial retirement fund when he finishes playing. (Source