• France's news in English

Socialists slam 'indecent' Ibrahimovic wages

AFP · 19 Jul 2012, 14:53

Published: 19 Jul 2012 14:53 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The 30-year-old Swedish striker's transfer to Paris Saint-Germain from AC Milan was hailed by fans with hundreds chanting "Ibra! Ibra!" as he was presented to them on Wednesday at a ceremony in front of the Eiffel Tower.

He has been hired on a reported annual net salary of about €14 million ($17 million) -- the most ever paid to a player in France.

But with France struggling to avoid recession and unemployment on the rise, Socialist politicians have reacted angrily to the figure, denouncing it as a sign of rampant excess.

Even one former sports minister from the right-wing UMP party has denounced the salary.

France's new Socialist government is insisting that Ibrahimovic will have no choice but to pay the 75-percent tax rate it intends to impose on annual salaries in excess of one million euros from next year.

"These numbers are not impressive, they are indecent," Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac told Europe 1 radio Thursday when asked about Ibrahimovic's salary.

"They are indecent at a time when everyone in the entire world is making efforts and knows the terrible consequences of a crisis," he said.

Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron attacked the salary as "astronomical and unreasonable" while government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said the sum "shocked a lot of people".

Vallaud-Belkacem said there was no way Ibrahimovic would "escape" from paying the 75-percent tax rate. Some ministers even rejoiced that his salary would bring so much revenue to state coffers.

"I am delighted that he will be paying taxes in France," said Benoit Hamon, a junior economy minister. "This is a demonstration that this tax was not an argument to prevent great players from coming to play in France."

Former sports minister Roselyne Bachelot of the right-wing UMP also expressed her "indignation, almost disgust" with the vast sums involved when asked about Ibrahimovic's transfer.

Even President Francois Hollande joined the fray.

Although he didn't criticize Ibrahimovic's salary itself, he pointed to the relatively modest salaries at French league champions Montpellier as an example.

"There are teams that manage to win... without necessarily having very significant salaries," Hollande said during a visit to France's national sport institute.

PSG President Nasser al-Khelaifi told reporters Wednesday that the club's owners, Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), would follow French law when it came to paying Ibrahimovic's taxes.

"As we have already said, we respect French laws. We do it today and we will do it tomorrow. Ibrahimovic's signing is very positive for PSG but also for French football," he said.

Story continues below…

Tax experts said that to guarantee Ibrahimovic a €14-million net salary the club will have to set aside enormous amounts.

"If you want the part taxed at 75 percent a year paid entirely to the player, the club will have to pay four times that much," said French tax lawyer Frederic Naim.

Experts said Ibrahimovic would be required to take French residency and pay French taxes, though he might benefit from a deduction for temporary residency allowing him to cut his taxable income in half.

Hollande defeated right-wing incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in a presidential vote in May with vows to tackle France's economic problems by boosting taxes on the wealthy and spending to promote growth.

The 75-percent tax rate has been derided by the right, who say it will lead to an exodus of top earners from France while doing little to address the country's fiscal problems.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

2012-07-20 02:25:06 by Eric
Welcome to the People's Republic of France, comrade. The greed of socialist and communist raising their ugly heads.
2012-08-05 13:17:09 by merlu free
The money is private, it is Quatary. On the contrary wages of politics is public money, from our tax payment. We can save money there.
Today's headlines
17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Homeless man does a runner from France's top restaurants
Photo: Prayitno/Flickr

"A man's gotta eat," he told police, after racking up gigantic bills in some of France's plushest restaurants.

Underwater museum hopes to make a splash in Marseille
A similar underwater museum piece by Jason deCaires Taylor. Photo: julie rohloff/Flickr

Don't forget your scuba gear...

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available