The tax payments of 171 players, 44 clubs and 31 agents are being investigated by HM Revenue & Customs.

HMRC has recovered £332m of extra tax from professional football since 2015-16.

The figures are a rise from September 2017, when HMRC was reportedly investigating the tax affairs of 90 players, 38 clubs and 13 agents.

An HMRC spokesperson said it is examining a “range of issues, including image rights abuse”.

“We carefully scrutinise the individual arrangements between football clubs and their players to make sure the right tax is being paid in the UK.

“HMRC rigorously enforces the rules and has brought in £332m in extra tax by tackling non-compliance in the football industry.”

The news comes amid a national debate over funding for grassroots football, with former Football Association chairman David Bernstein recently told Radio 5 live the Premier League should be taxed to improve facilities following the collapse of the Wembley sale.

Fulham owner Shahid Khan offered £600m for Wembley but withdrew his offer after the plan became “divisive”.

The FA said it would invest the proceeds of the sale into improving grassroots football facilities.

“It’s a national disgrace,” Bernstein said.

“The Premier League does pay some monies across to other parts of football but it is nowhere near enough.

“My view has consistently been that the Premier League should be levied, money should go to the FA, which would be distributed to the wider game and which would make the selling of Wembley unnecessary.”

Source UK Media