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Is motor racing a sport (or, rather, does the argument that it isn't make any sense)?


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#1 cpbell

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 16:31

Having read articles and comments online today about Lewis possibly being Knighted in the New Year Honours List, one of the arguments against him being honoured was that F1 or motor racing more generally wasn't, according to some, a sport.  Obviously, I suspect none of us here would agree, but I'm happy to admit that I can't fathom why someone would reject the idea that a racing driver is a sportsperson.

 

FWIW, Dictionary.com has this, US-centric definition:

 

 

noun
an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.
a particular form of this, especially in the out of doors.

 

On that definition, I think the question is answered, but I thought I'd open a thread to find out whether others are as confused as I am! :lol:



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#2 Imperial

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 16:40

Even if it wasn't a sport, I don't get why that would be an argument against being Knighted.

#3 OvDrone

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 16:41

If Motorsport isn't a sport then the sky ain't blue and water isn't wet.



#4 PayasYouRace

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 16:46

Let's see.

Is it athletic? Yes. Anyone who'd driven a kart can testify to that.

Is it an activity? Yes.

Does it require skill or physical prowess? Yes.

Is it of a competitive nature? Yes.

What is that nature? Racing.

 

I think that definition covers it quite nicelys.

 

Let's try something this side of The Pond.

 

Cambridge: a game, competition, or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to rules, for enjoyment and/or as a job

 

Is it a game, competition or activity? Yes, specifically the second and third.

Does it need physical effort? Yes.

Does it need skill? Yes.

Is it played according to rules? Yes.

Is it done for either enjoyment or as a job? Yes depending on the person.

 

There are only two real groups who don't consider it a sport. The first is the ignorant types who seek to diminish it by ignoring the athletic ability and skill required to be successful. For some reason this criticism is rarely attributed to sailing or horse racing, for example. In both, the performance of your mount is key to success too, but that's ignored. I suspect it's a hangover from motorsport still being a relatively young sport, despite existing for over a century.

 

The other group are the "F1 is a business, not a sport" types. They're just expressing their displeasure with the sport that they once loved, but ignore the fact that many sports are heavily business orientated too, and the terms are not mutually exclusive.



#5 MasterOfCoin

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 16:54

I say give it it's own category.....because it encompasses too many features to just stick motor and sports to it.....



#6 FLB

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 17:05

Even if it wasn't a sport, I don't get why that would be an argument against being Knighted.

Especially as other drivers have been knighted before (Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart, etc.).



#7 JeePee

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 17:09

If Motorsport isn't a sport then the sky ain't blue and water isn't wet.

Actually, water isn't wet. Things that are covered with water are wet, but water itself isn't.

 

I'm fun at party's.



#8 F1matt

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 17:11

For people who have no interest in motorsport I understand why they would say it isn't a sport, you can buy a seat at the top table if you have enough money and you have always been able to do that. Try buying a starting position at Manchester United or the LA Lakers. I have no problem with Lewis Hamilton been awarded a knighthood but if one of his several hundred strong mechanical team does something wrong it doesn't matter how good he is he won't win, if Mo Farah doesn't win a marathon he isn't going to blame someone else if his laces come undone. I don't consider and driver to be in the same mould as a Roger Federer, Tiger Woods or other elite sportsmen; drivers always have a place to hide, usually by blaming their team but there is no where to hide on a tennis court or golf course. I would call it a really expensive hobby. 



#9 Kev00

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 17:16

Well all motorsport is a race of some sort, so that makes it a sport for me. Maybe you could ask if only the drivers are actually sportsmen in what is essentially a sport of engineering though

Edited by Kev00, 22 November 2020 - 17:16.


#10 cpbell

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 17:22

Even if it wasn't a sport, I don't get why that would be an argument against being Knighted.

Absolutely.



#11 cpbell

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 17:24

Actually, water isn't wet. Things that are covered with water are wet, but water itself isn't.

 

I'm fun at party's.

Nice to encounter a fellow pedant!



#12 PlatenGlass

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 17:27

Actually, water isn't wet. Things that are covered with water are wet, but water itself isn't.

I'm fun at party's.

Well, if we're being like that about it, it's "parties".

But anyway, unless it's just one molecule of water, the water has water on it!

Edit - I would dispute that anyway. It's like:

"You smell."
"No, you smell. I stink."

The same word can have different meanings or shades of meaning. Words just mean what people standardly use them to mean. Water is wet.

Edited by PlatenGlass, 22 November 2020 - 17:44.


#13 OvDrone

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 17:28

Actually, water isn't wet. Things that are covered with water are wet, but water itself isn't.

 

I'm fun at party's.

Fair play. A better analogy didn't cross my mind.



#14 PayasYouRace

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 17:30

Well all motorsport is a race of some sort, so that makes it a sport for me. Maybe you could ask if only the drivers are actually sportsmen in what is essentially a sport of engineering though

 

That's the case with just about any sport. There are the actual sportsmen, and then there are the coaches, trainers, managers, equipment suppliers, etc in the background that make possible what the sportsmen go on to achieve.



#15 F1matt

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 17:59

That's the case with just about any sport. There are the actual sportsmen, and then there are the coaches, trainers, managers, equipment suppliers, etc in the background that make possible what the sportsmen go on to achieve.

 

So are you comparing Mercedes F1 team to the people who make Ronnie O'Sullivans cue? A relevant comparison after O'Sullians comments about Hamilton yesterday. 



#16 68targa

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 18:02

The argument that Motor Racing is not a sport and therefore as a reason not to give Lewis a Knighthood is very strange. In what context could this be argued I wonder.  I have always thought that Knighthoods were given to sports men and women after they had retired - usually long after -  Moss only received his in 2000.  Jack Brabham in 1978 and Jackie Stewart in 2001.

 

And as for John Surtees, well that's an omission in my book.  I have always had a feeling that this was part of a snobbish attitude towards Motor Cycle racers from some in Whitehall office.



#17 PayasYouRace

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 18:15

So are you comparing Mercedes F1 team to the people who make Ronnie O'Sullivans cue? A relevant comparison after O'Sullians comments about Hamilton yesterday. 

 

Yes. Put it this way. Would Ronnie have won anything if he only had access to the cues from the local pub?

 

Edit: Don't take it as an attempt to diminish Lewis' achievements. It's just that any professional sportsman relies on his equipment to do his job well. Motor racing is more heavily reliant on the equipment, but then it's probably better to compare it to other vehicular sports such as sailing, bobsled, horse racing, etc.



#18 68targa

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 18:25

Well, Horse Racing is considered a sport and Jockeys received Knighthoods - couldn't do it without the horse, the trainer, vet ......... etc
 



#19 THEWALL

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 18:40

 Is it a fair competition of talent only? Probably not.

 

Is it a part of corporate agendas and a money race? Sure. 

 

Is it exciting? It can be, but isn't atm. 

 

Is it a sport? Probably yeah, but getting further away from it if it doesn't change...a lot...



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#20 keeppari

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 19:25

For some reason this criticism is rarely attributed to sailing or horse racing, for example. In both, the performance of your mount is key to success too, but that's ignored.


I don't follow either of those sports but regarding the latter at least the horses manage to make name for themselves as I could name a couple. On the contrary, I don't know a single jockey by name.

#21 THEWALL

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 20:13

I don't follow either of those sports but regarding the latter at least the horses manage to make name for themselves as I could name a couple. On the contrary, I don't know a single jockey by name.


And there’s one-design sailing as well so...

#22 F1matt

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 20:15

Yes. Put it this way. Would Ronnie have won anything if he only had access to the cues from the local pub?

 

Edit: Don't take it as an attempt to diminish Lewis' achievements. It's just that any professional sportsman relies on his equipment to do his job well. Motor racing is more heavily reliant on the equipment, but then it's probably better to compare it to other vehicular sports such as sailing, bobsled, horse racing, etc.

 

 

I imagine when O'Sullivan started he purchased a cue from the local snooker hall, I imagine the cues he uses now are hand made but well within the reach of the man in the street if he wanted to buy one. I can't imagine no snooker player failed to make the elite level due to an inferior cue in the same way the best footballers end up with the professional clubs, as per rugby, tennis, golf etc. Like you I am not trying to diminish Hamilton's achievements, Phillip Green is a Monaco resident who managed to bag himself a knighthood so I don't see why it should hold Hamilton back. 

 

My issue is that the best should reach the top echelons of sport, F1 doesn't adhere to this, the last race was a good example of this with Stroll on pole. 



#23 PayasYouRace

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 20:18

I imagine when O'Sullivan started he purchased a cue from the local snooker hall, I imagine the cues he uses now are hand made but well within the reach of the man in the street if he wanted to buy one. I can't imagine no snooker player failed to make the elite level due to an inferior cue in the same way the best footballers end up with the professional clubs, as per rugby, tennis, golf etc. Like you I am not trying to diminish Hamilton's achievements, Phillip Green is a Monaco resident who managed to bag himself a knighthood so I don't see why it should hold Hamilton back. 

 

My issue is that the best should reach the top echelons of sport, F1 doesn't adhere to this, the last race was a good example of this with Stroll on pole. 

 

Don't forget that F1 is just one motorsport series. Please don't lose sight of the question in the OP.

 

There's no need to draw out the snooker comparison much more, but at the end of the day, when sport reaches professional levels, each sportsman has a great team behind them to some extend or other.



#24 danmills

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 20:21

A man without a football is no different to a man without a racing car.

 

Balls and cars are objects that accompany the activities  whereby said person can demonstrate skillset and ability of the individualby using those items against others doing the same. 

 

Case closed.



#25 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 20:31

I don't think racing drivers are athletes(I have a very specific argument against) but I don't see how it's not a sport. It's a competition. Unfair, corrupt, blah blah, etc but it's a sport. 

 

If you want to talk about a sport where the person getting the plaudits isn't doing most of the work let's cast a suspicious eye on horse racing...



#26 Marklar

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 20:56

In a world where playing Dota is considered a sport this is a strange discussion

#27 NixxxoN

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 21:02

Motor racing is a sport.

Formula 1... not sure if it's a sport, since they compete with vastly unequal equipment. Its probably closer to an engineering competition than a real sport.

However the one-make series that have equal equipment can be considered 100% sport


Edited by NixxxoN, 22 November 2020 - 21:04.


#28 PlatenGlass

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 21:07

Motor racing is a sport.
Formula 1... not sure if it's a sport, since they compete with vastly unequal equipment. Its probably closer to an engineering competition than a real sport.
However the one-make series that have equal equipment can be considered 100% sport

I think this sums it up. Snooker would be a pretty weird sport if only two players had cues that allowed them to win. Tennis the same with rackets. Etc.

But motor racing doesn't equal F1 so motor racing itself is untouched by the argument. Maybe F1 is a sport but if so it's a pretty messed up one.

#29 pdac

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 21:29

Motor sport is sport. F1 is just a cash cow.



#30 NixxxoN

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 21:46

Well, Horse Racing is considered a sport and Jockeys received Knighthoods - couldn't do it without the horse, the trainer, vet ......... etc
 

Horse racing is a funny one since the one doing the sport is the horse, far more than the jockey, so knighthoods for horses please :smoking:



#31 cpbell

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Posted 22 November 2020 - 21:55

In a world where playing Dota is considered a sport this is a strange discussion

I agree, but it's evident that a minority of people don't agree that it is.



#32 Sterzo

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 09:39

Is motor racing a sport? - Yes.

Does the argument that it isn't make any sense? - No.

Next?



#33 Requiem84

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 09:52

I did my Master thesis on the cross-border taxation of sportsmen (Article 17 OECD model treaty). As part of the thesis, I investigated when someone qualifies 'as a sportsman' (nowadays, the better use of words is 'sportsperson').

 

If you look at the case law of different countries, a few common factors came up:

 

- There needs to be a form of competition

- It usually involves physical activity

- It can also be mental activity

- It generally attracts spectators to watch the sports activity (can be very small numbers, can be bigger numbers). 

 

If you apply the above on F1, would you say it's a sport or not? I think the answer is quite easy :).

 

In any case, Article 17 of the OECD treaty which allocates the taxation rights is applicable for F1 drivers. Meaning that if they compete in a foreign country, that country is in principle entitled to levy tax on part of the athlete's income in relation to that specific race in their country (hence why Hamilton for instance pays in multiple countries). However, many countries have made special 'exceptions' for this rule to accommodate F1. Nevertheless, this also gives a clear hint that - legally - F1 is considered to be a sport. 



#34 cpbell

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 11:23

I did my Master thesis on the cross-border taxation of sportsmen (Article 17 OECD model treaty). As part of the thesis, I investigated when someone qualifies 'as a sportsman' (nowadays, the better use of words is 'sportsperson').

 

If you look at the case law of different countries, a few common factors came up:

 

- There needs to be a form of competition

- It usually involves physical activity

- It can also be mental activity

- It generally attracts spectators to watch the sports activity (can be very small numbers, can be bigger numbers). 

 

If you apply the above on F1, would you say it's a sport or not? I think the answer is quite easy :).

 

In any case, Article 17 of the OECD treaty which allocates the taxation rights is applicable for F1 drivers. Meaning that if they compete in a foreign country, that country is in principle entitled to levy tax on part of the athlete's income in relation to that specific race in their country (hence why Hamilton for instance pays in multiple countries). However, many countries have made special 'exceptions' for this rule to accommodate F1. Nevertheless, this also gives a clear hint that - legally - F1 is considered to be a sport. 

Interesting.  Does your expertise suggest to you that Hamilton is indeed paying fairly high taxes, both in the UK and abroad?



#35 Requiem84

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 11:39

Interesting.  Does your expertise suggest to you that Hamilton is indeed paying fairly high taxes, both in the UK and abroad?

 

Hard to say, there are various ways to 'set this up' in a manner which mitigates the tax liability, although many jurisdictions are taking pre emptive measures against such avoidance schemes. 

 

But to say it in a simple way: most countries agreed between them that the country where the event takes place can levy tax on the income related to that event (I think it usually is 25% withholding tax or so). The country of residence than credits this amount (to avoid double taxation). A complicating matter is that 'big sportsmen' like Lewis usually conduct their business via their companies (for instance, Mercedes likely contracts 'Lewis Hamilton Ltd' to obtain the services of Lewis Hamilton himself). As he's not established in the UK, but seems to indicate that he's paying tax in the UK, I suspect there is a structure of UK legal entities from which Hamilton carries his business and which will pay corporate income tax in the UK, as well as VAT, wage tax for the UK employees etc. 



#36 Imperial

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 12:36

Income tax is due on race prize money payments. I.E Lewis wins the British GP, the British GP pays him his prize money, he has to pay income tax on said prize money.

Which is why I have said many times that in one Sunday afternoon of winning the British GP, Hamilton will have paid more income tax than the average Brit will in their own work lifetime.

#37 Augurk

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 13:00

If Motorsport isn't a sport then the sky ain't blue and water isn't wet.

I'd watch out with that comparison. The sky may look blue at face value, but if you look a bit deeper at the science behind it there's nothing blue about the sky. Some might argue the same counts for motorsports!

 

But of course we don't think it does. Motorsports is as much a sport as any other. The level of fitness required for F1 drivers is on an olympic athlete level. 

The fact that you need equipment to do something doesn't make it not a sport. Then there shouldn't be equestrian sports either or shooting, etc. 



#38 cpbell

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 13:06

Hard to say, there are various ways to 'set this up' in a manner which mitigates the tax liability, although many jurisdictions are taking pre emptive measures against such avoidance schemes. 

 

But to say it in a simple way: most countries agreed between them that the country where the event takes place can levy tax on the income related to that event (I think it usually is 25% withholding tax or so). The country of residence than credits this amount (to avoid double taxation). A complicating matter is that 'big sportsmen' like Lewis usually conduct their business via their companies (for instance, Mercedes likely contracts 'Lewis Hamilton Ltd' to obtain the services of Lewis Hamilton himself). As he's not established in the UK, but seems to indicate that he's paying tax in the UK, I suspect there is a structure of UK legal entities from which Hamilton carries his business and which will pay corporate income tax in the UK, as well as VAT, wage tax for the UK employees etc. 

Cheers.



#39 cpbell

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 13:21

Income tax is due on race prize money payments. I.E Lewis wins the British GP, the British GP pays him his prize money, he has to pay income tax on said prize money.

Which is why I have said many times that in one Sunday afternoon of winning the British GP, Hamilton will have paid more income tax than the average Brit will in their own work lifetime.

I've heard claims that there is no prize money for drivers in modern F1 - I presume you have reason to think that this is wrong?



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#40 lustigson

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 13:22

I thought there were only three sports, motor racing being one of them.  :clap:



#41 Imperial

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 13:28

I've heard claims that there is no prize money for drivers in modern F1 - I presume you have reason to think that this is wrong?

 

Honestly, I don't know as fact.

 

My understanding from knowledge gleaned is that it is paid and is paid for by 'the race'. Whether that means the circuit, maybe a separate company set-up for such purposes, FIA, FOM, etc...no idea.

 

As with many things F1, trying to find any facts in either direction appears impossible.



#42 Requiem84

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 13:32

Income tax is due on race prize money payments. I.E Lewis wins the British GP, the British GP pays him his prize money, he has to pay income tax on said prize money.

Which is why I have said many times that in one Sunday afternoon of winning the British GP, Hamilton will have paid more income tax than the average Brit will in their own work lifetime.

 

Not only price money, but also regularly salary and potentially even sponsor deals etc (depends on how countries apply Article 17 of the model treaty). 

 

Let's say if a driver earns 10 million salary and 5 million sponsor deals and he drives 15 Grand Prix' that year, potentially 1.0 million could be taxed in the country where the race is held (income divided pro rata per race per country etc). 

 

It's complex stuff for the bigger athletes. 



#43 BRG

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 13:42

I thought there were only three sports, motor racing being one of them.  :clap:

I wouldn't count bullfighting as a sport.  And you need equipment - a suit, a cape, a sword and a bull. And an arena. And a supporting team of picadors and matadors.

 

As for mountaineering, you need a mountain and how much does one of THEM set you back?  Way out of the reach of the common man.  More seriously, it isn't a sport as there is no competitive element.  It is an achievement, but so was Amundsen reaching the South Pole but I have never heard him called a sportsman.



#44 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 13:43

I did my Master thesis on the cross-border taxation of sportsmen (Article 17 OECD model treaty). As part of the thesis, I investigated when someone qualifies 'as a sportsman' (nowadays, the better use of words is 'sportsperson').

 

If you look at the case law of different countries, a few common factors came up:

 

- There needs to be a form of competition

- It usually involves physical activity

- It can also be mental activity

- It generally attracts spectators to watch the sports activity (can be very small numbers, can be bigger numbers). 

 

If you apply the above on F1, would you say it's a sport or not? I think the answer is quite easy :).

 

In any case, Article 17 of the OECD treaty which allocates the taxation rights is applicable for F1 drivers. Meaning that if they compete in a foreign country, that country is in principle entitled to levy tax on part of the athlete's income in relation to that specific race in their country (hence why Hamilton for instance pays in multiple countries). However, many countries have made special 'exceptions' for this rule to accommodate F1. Nevertheless, this also gives a clear hint that - legally - F1 is considered to be a sport. 

 

This is something I wondered about when we did the esports craze in the spring, but on a different angle. For legal reasons, where am I when I take part in an esports event. Where the server is hosted? Where I am physically sitting? Any countries I pass through on my way to the server? 

 

Drinking age is 21 in America, 18 most other places. If for some reason a beer company sponsored a Call of Duty tournament in Germany, can a 19 year old American enter? If you are making tons of money doing esports does your home taxman want it or where you're 'earning the money'? And what if I'm earning my sponsorship because we have a ton of viewers in South Korea and I have some random brand sponsoring me even though I'm an American taking part in a British tournament? 



#45 MichaelPM

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 13:46

Is it of a competitive nature? Yes.

That can't be a straight yes. Forget differences in facilities, budgets and spending, rules which limit development are anti-competitive.



#46 Requiem84

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 13:53

This is something I wondered about when we did the esports craze in the spring, but on a different angle. For legal reasons, where am I when I take part in an esports event. Where the server is hosted? Where I am physically sitting? Any countries I pass through on my way to the server? 

 

Drinking age is 21 in America, 18 most other places. If for some reason a beer company sponsored a Call of Duty tournament in Germany, can a 19 year old American enter? If you are making tons of money doing esports does your home taxman want it or where you're 'earning the money'? And what if I'm earning my sponsorship because we have a ton of viewers in South Korea and I have some random brand sponsoring me even though I'm an American taking part in a British tournament? 

 

Very interesting question to which I don't know the answer. I suspect that the tax rules are still not flexible enough to account for such developments and that for the current situation, countries will consider 'e-athletes' to perform where the physically reside. If there is a specific on site tournament /  competition, I think the country where the event takes place will claim the right to tax the income related to that event. 

 

Would be interesting to dive deeper into this :).



#47 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 13:53

They're not talking about competition in a purity sense but whether you are competing against other entrants. 



#48 pacificquay

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 14:12

Re snooker - a cue is "a very high-tech piece of equipment":

 



#49 Dhillon

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 17:08

In sports great efforts are made to make a level playing field. Rules, Standardised equipment, dope testing etc.

Motorsport is part man , part machine so half a sport 😶

#50 Sterzo

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 09:39

In sports great efforts are made to make a level playing field. Rules, Standardised equipment, dope testing etc.

Motorsport is part man , part machine so half a sport

Wrong. Motor sport originated as racing between cars. The sport was in trying to make your car go faster. In F1, it still is. And the machines are designed and made by men - all of whom are racers, just as much as the drivers are.