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Spanish government extends Euro 2020 tax breaks and visa permissions for Uefa

(Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

The Spanish government has extended a series of tax breaks and visa permissions granted to Uefa for the hosting of Euro 2020 matches in the city of Bilbao now that the tournament has been postponed until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The tax breaks, requested by Uefa as a part of the host candidacy process, exempt Uefa employees, officials and appointees, accredited members of the media and participating teams, whether foreign or Spanish, from corporate tax and non-resident income tax (IRNR) in the country.

This will mean income obtained in Spain by non-residents for providing services to Uefa and prize money earned by the participating teams will continue to be tax free, according to a report by Palco23.

Uefa adopted a pan-continental hosting model for Euro 2020 to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the competition, sharing matches across 12 European cities. But the European governing body has had to postpone the event to the summer of 2021 to give domestic competitions across Europe, stalled by the pandemic, time to be completed this summer.

The postponement means Uefa staff, stationed around Europe to help local event organising teams, will most likely need to be seconded to the 12 host cities for an additional year.

Bilbao’s new San Mamés Stadium was selected in September 2014 to host four matches during Euro 2020, including three group games and one round-of-16 match.

Spain’s Council of Ministers reportedly agreed to extend the tax and visa guarantees after Uefa sent a letter to all of its host countries to ensure the commitments were upheld.

The provisions, outlined in Uefa’s Tournament Requirements guidebook, allow Uefa employees to enter and exit a host country as many times as needed for up to four years prior to the competition and one year after its conclusion, without being considered as residing there.

They also grant foreign citizens with a valid passport who attend a Euro 2020 match with official personal accreditation with the necessary visas to enter, stay and leave Spain at no cost, save for a small processing fee.

Additionally, the guarantees allow people from other host countries and participating team countries with a valid passport and entry for one of the tournament’s matches in Spain the right to enter and leave the country through a simplified and preferential procedure.

The visa regulations will be in place for two weeks prior to start of the event and will end one week after.