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Soccer wives gossip leads to tax inquiry

One of my favorite Lyle Lovett songs is "What Do You Do," in which the Texan pays tribute to the timeless Billy Hill tune "The Glory of Love."

In Lyle's modern classic, the inimitable Francine Reed, lamenting her lover's lack of material manifestations of his affection, sings one of the best lines of all time:

"If you make all that money man,
Make damn sure it shows."

Such braggadocio, however, is exactly what has gotten some Bulgarian soccer players, or footballers as they're called there, in tax trouble.

"The garrulous wives of Bulgarian footballers, who are more than happy to talk about the luxurious life they lead, are believed to have prompted government officials to investigate top soccer players for suspected tax evasion," reports the Sofia News Agency

Eleonora-Mancheva-auto_BGModels That's Eleonora Mancheva at right (photo courtesy BGModels and Ltd.), a former Miss Bulgaria who was crowned Mrs. Universe 2007. She's one of the wives whose chattiness has backfired in a big way. Eleonora is married to, and boasted about about the earning power of, football player Vlado Manchev.

Officials from the National Revenue Agency were impressed by the players' wives TV appearances, in which they bragged about their expensive cars and other high-lev possessions. So now Bulgarian tax officials are taking closer looks at the finances of 261 of the country's top flight footballers to make sure they are paying their proper taxes.

Remember that the next time you want to make sure the Joneses know you're keeping up with them!

More European football tax problems: Meanwhile, in England, the manager of the Tottenham professional football team is facing his own tax troubles.

Harry Redknapp has been under investigation since 2007 by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs as part of its inquiry into alleged corruption in football. The manager of the Tottenham Hotspur football club was arrested in November two years ago on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting.

Essentially, British tax officials are focusing on suspected unpaid tax related to an offshore payment (yep, it's an issue there, too) made to Redknapp.

U.K. Tax officials have announced that Redknapp, who has always denied any wrongdoing, will be officially charged in relation to the long-running tax investigation in January.

The Spurs management is standing behind their man, saying the team "considers this matter to be a private, tax issue which pre-dates Harry's employment with the club and which is not related to football matters. His position remains unaffected and he has the full support of the club."

Uh-oh Harry. When a general manager or coach on this side of the pond has the owner's full support, that means he better start packing his belongings!

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