Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Andorra-gate will make Márquez faster

MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.


Andorra-gate will make Márquez faster

If any of Marc Márquez’s MotoGP rivals were gloating while he suffered the slings and arrows of Andorra-gate, they should wipe their schadenfreude smiles off their faces.

In case you aren’t up to speed with this Andorra business, Márquez’s decision to move to the tax haven on the French/Spanish border triggered a torrent of abuse from fans, almost 50,000 of whom signed a petition requesting his sponsors to withdraw their backing.

The reaction caught MotoGP’s golden boy by surprise, which he made public during a tearful (without doubt genuine, not crocodile) press conference before the recent Barcelona dirt track event.

His rivals were probably gloating – to a greater or less extent – because this is the first time the youngster has been on the ropes since he started making everyone else in MotoGP look silly in the spring of 2013.

Of course, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi have kept very quiet about the matter, because sensible people in glass houses don’t throw stones. Lorenzo and Pedrosa currently reside in tax-friendly Switzerland, while Rossi now lives in Italy, having been nicked for tax-dodging while enjoying ‘non-dom’ status in London some years back. The Italian tax authorities took over €100 million in unpaid tax off the country’s favourite son.

Andorra-gate may turn out to be a significant moment in Márquez’s career. It suggests that his honeymoon period as a superstar is over – he has realised all of sudden that support from fans isn’t unconditional.

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

Total votes: 44
Total votes: 121

Back to top

Comments

There are two times in life when you find out who your real friends are :
when you fail, and when you succeed. Marquez has plenty of fans who
don't care where he lives, I am certain of that.

Those who would criticize Marquez for wanting to dodge unreasonably high
taxation are not genuine fans. They are nobodies who are jealous of a man who rises above mediocrity and becomes a winner in life. How sad for them.

I expect Marquez will not allow the fickle nature of other humans to slow
him down.

Bring on the 2015 season !

Total votes: 160

The price of a civilised society is taxation. It funds all public infrastructure.
It provided the education system Marquez progressed through.
It funded the roads he was transported on.
It funded the hospitals he has visited throughout his lifetime, and the training of the doctors, surgeons and attendant staff who cared for him and repaired him.
I could list more and more but I think I have made my point.

The tax paid by high income earners in Spain is lower than some nearby countries, and whilst it might be viewed as high by the average person, 50% of 20 million euros is still 10 million, which is no small amount. And on top of that there would doubtless be structures set up to ensure maximum deductability of expenses etc.

Oh, and thanks for your arrogant assertion that those of us who disagree with your position are "nobodies" who are "jealous". Way to go, great balance in those comments.

Total votes: 172

When you pay a lot of money in tax, you expect the government to spent it wisely. Show me a government that spends tax wisely and I'll happily hand over my hard earned. Otherwise, I will do everything I can to minimise my tax. Much better for me to spend it on something worthwhile to me, than to see the government waste it

Total votes: 143

I am a firm believer of keeping what I earn. Privatizing as much as possible and keeping the government out of businesses.

Total votes: 136

Health care is one place where government does a better job than the private sector Case in point : the USA. They spend more per capita than anyone but are quite low on world rankings with their mostly private system. .When health care is privatized, profits , not quality of care are the main driver.. In the USA, when there are equally effective treatments to choos from often the most expensive treatment is chosen. The MBA running the hospital is happy., and the insurance companies don't mind. They just charge higher premiums so they still make ' sufficient ' profits.

In the US. health care spends more on lobbying than the military contractors or oil companies.

Of course government should not be making cars and such but there are things that government do better.

Total votes: 103

If anyone should be exempt from the ridiculously high european taxes, it's racers. The amount of tourism and commercial money they put into the coffers of these countries just by showing up on the grid is staggering. It's like taxing combat pay.

Total votes: 119

Thanks for mentioning the context of the Spanish economy, agreed. And it does matter what taxes he pays and where he lives. He is a proud Spaniard and this is a difficult deal. Agreed that this is a bit of a watershed moment, and natural step.

Disagree that anyone is gloating. All these guys know how it is to deal with the media. Maybe Lorenzo has a first flush of satisfaction that the kid is finally not untarnished, but even he would align with MM and hams vs the media.

When there was the moment this season in which MM93'S media/PR/marketing obligations took their toll on his ability to settle in to bike set up and he, as I recall, finished off the podium for the first time. ..THAT was the watershed moment for him internally methinks. This was more externally.

Growing up fast, tough process.

Total votes: 114

How anyone could 'believe' that they who make more should pay more is stunning! True socialism! No, im not rich, being a retired cop from the People's Republic of Kalifornia, but this attitude that if you make more then 'X' isnt fair to the rest of society is.....Really? According to this thinking, it isnt fair that Marc is faster and won so many races this year, so , next year in fairness, we'll strap a sack of cement to his bike! I have NO issue with anyone making a zillion $$$/year. They should pay the same amount as I do.

All the rich folks I know (only a few) have worked their asses off for the $$$$ & kudo's to them!

And Merry Christmas to all.

Total votes: 124

I don't recollect anyone saying it wasn't fair that he earned more money. I do know that sports stars who drape the flag over their shoulders, who were happy to use the system to get to where they are today and then do everything in their power to pay NO tax annoy the crap out of me. Spain is in shit. They have youth unemployment of 50%. They have government debt. They have a health care and education system that is struggling under the load. It's not unreasonable for the Spanish fans who have supported him and bought his merchandise to think that he might stay domiciled in his home country for tax purposes? Sure, he would pay a lot of tax. His accountants would reduce that amount down anyway, so it is unlikely that he would pay the top rate of tax on his full earnings. As long as it's legal, it might be morally dubious, but at least he is contributing.

Total votes: 114

I'm tired of this "system he came through' argument. The system is not flawed because Marc is NOT paying into it and the system will not fix itself because Marc IS paying into it.

Its all just a false frame. Marc has the same obligation to staying in Spain as a bricklayer or Janitor does, i.e none.

They have youth employment of over 50% because the Spanish youth are far too progressively educated and culturally sophisticated to lay drywall or run wiring, math is beneath their intelligence.

Lets not hang the labour homogenization of Europe at the hands of the Euro on one 20 something year old kid who wasn't even of voting age when his esteemed elders decided to take credit over cash.

And you know what, while we're at it why don't we examine the pay structure. There's a reason sports stars and celebrities are paid exorbitant amounts of money and it begins and ends with distraction. The media funds and perpetuates the distraction in order to slap a branded logo on it to make you want harder.

But no, lets crucify the kid, not the system. Because we all know the system isn't the problem, the problem is you're not useful to the system...

P.S apologies cejay, not directed at you specifically, but your comment was the jumping off point

Total votes: 106

by moving to a tax haven, he is not paying even as much as 'you' proportionally despite earning many times more. Surely, that is the point?

Total votes: 107

All fans are not the same. You'll never appease them all. MM will work his way through the circus that is MGP media and be a better champion because of it. As for the "rabid" comments nothing can be done to change that level of programming.

Total votes: 125

Matt Oxley asks why the EU tolerates tax havens in their midst? Well I can only speak for the Isle of Man, where I live.
We are not a tax haven, we are a low tax economy. You can not hide your money here, we have total transparency with the EU, USA etc.
You must live here to benefit, and if you think that is easy then think again!

The EU affects the lives of all people living on the Island with all of its bureaucratic nonsense and yet we do not benefit in any way from membership as Spain and others have done, we are not members of the EU! We get no help either from the UK other than a decreasing share of the VAT collected from transactions on the island.

If we were part of the UK or Europe, we would be a burden on their economy, that's why they tolerate us. We stand on our own three feet with no help from anyone, no handouts and grants to build hospitals, motorways and schools!

Total votes: 120

It isn't fair to tax rich people more than poor people.

If you work your ass off, you should be able to keep what you earn.

I can spend my money more wisely than the government.

None of the above.

Which statement is the only one that can bear the scrutiny of truth?

Nobody, and especially nobody in professional motorcycle racing, lives in a vacuum. The people who work their asses off to get rich don't do it on their own. They're not printing money in their basements using paper they make from trees they harvested on land they own. They're entering into contracts with other financial entities. They're being compensated for providing a product.

They're doing this with the benefits of a public infrastructure, both physical and not, that was conceived and developed through public and private collaboration. Like it or not, this infrastructure depends on governmental support. Do you seriously think we'd have the motorcycle racing we have now if there were no governments? Do you really think it would be better in a complete state of economic nature?

And lets not forget the fact that it's all of us--in other words, the society to whom the people who get rich sell their products--who buy those goods and services. So even if a person who gets rich really is printing money in his basement, that person's money would be of no use without the society from whom he then used his money to purchase goods and services. A society that, again, depends on public and private collaboration.

Why should rich people pay more taxes than poor people? Because rich people have more money than poor people. By leaps and bounds. If five percent of the people have 90 percent of the cash, then one in 20 people is going to have to foot a majority of the bill run up by the society that allows them to hold almost all of its wealth.

I can only surmise, but perhaps Valentino Rossi came around to understand this basic fact. Whether or not Marquez ever does won't diminish his abilities one iota. Just my respect for him.

Total votes: 110

and obviously completely accurate , these facts are obvious in and of themselves, and yet you get the usual reactionary drivel in response to a story like this. An uneducated workforce and customer base means no economy,which means no riches, which means no taxes,which means an uneducated workforce and customer base,which means no economy...........you can add infrastructure(roads,bridges,ports,airports,trains) needed to ship and receive goods as well as provide the means for that same customer base and employee pool to travel on..., law enforcement and military at some level, judicial sytems all protect the business investment ,as well as the purchases made by the customer base which privide the riches,and in turn provide the taxes.... Having worked in the Motorcycle Industry for much of my life, I have experienced a great many purchasers of high line motorcycles grumbling about taxes, to which I always ask if they would be buying a 20k bike if they had to ride it on goat trails? Which obviously,in turn,means I would not be selling one,either....the whooshing sound is two fold, as it both flies over their heads as well as whistles in the empry space between their ears..
..

Total votes: 115

Basically your argument can be summed up as metaphysical soup. We can go all the way back to bartering, there is no need to barter without a society as a whole to barter with, and there is no need to barter without the arduous task of being a human. So lets cut the nonsense and off ourselves.

You put up your own strawman, it was never a question of tax vs no tax, its a question of maximising personal benefit to maximising societal benefit, depends on ones level of programming vs misanthropy (directly proportional IMO).

But back to tax, because if we're talking use value the poor are far more dependant on socialised services. (We'll keep roads out of the equation as they are the great equaliser and its foolish to attribute anyone's success to the availability of access to motorways, its bad logic as we all have that accessibility, therefore we should all be rich if the tautology was true.)

At a fixed percentage you're still taking more proportionally from the top percentile than you are from the bottom percentile. Or for a far more involved tax system, calculate what each person owes based on usage. Compensate accordingly, we're talking about fairness right?

Total votes: 111

Riders represent the nations where they reside.

After all this article is just an excuse to say did you know so and so lives here or lived there.. So why not just have them ride under the banner in which they reside. Then we'll will know each time they grid up. That way we can get back to the racing.

Total votes: 110