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French football clubs to pay 75 percent tax: PM

Ben McPartland · 2 Apr 2013, 09:51

Published: 02 Apr 2013 09:51 GMT+02:00

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France's Prime Minister's office at Matignon insisted on Tueday that football clubs will be affected by the proposed 75 percent supertax, which President François Hollande announced last week would be paid by companies and not individuals.

The statement will be a surprise to the head of France’s Football Federation (FFF) Noël le Graët who had ealier claimed that the country’s football clubs would would be spared the planned 75 percent tax rate.

However the Prime Minister’s office at Matignon moved quickly to dismiss Le Graët’s words.

“All businesses which pay salaries over €1 million” will be affected by the tax, read a statement from Matignon.

In his televised address to the nation last week President François Hollande announced that his flagship 75 supertax that had been rejected by France’s highest court last year, would be paid by businesses and not by individuals as first proposed.

Hollande did not however reveal details of how it would be paid or which companies it would affect.

France’s Football Federation was clearly under the wrong impression that their clubs would be spared the levy.

“The Prime Minister made it very clear to me that only the big enterprises will be affected. Clubs will be considered as small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) so will not be touched by the tax,” Le Graët told French daily Le Parisien.

The PM's office denied having had any contact with Le Graët.

The news comes as mega rich Paris Saint-Germain take on Barcelona in the quarter finals of the Champions League on Tuesday night.

The progress made by PSG in Europe has given French football a much-needed boost after spending years in the doldrums.

The club, backed by billionaire Qatari owners, have spent millions to attract players of the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and most recently David Beckham, offering them eye-watering salaries to entice them to Paris.

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 Although money seems no object for PSG a 75 percent tax rate could however affect France’s ability to hold on to the most talented players.

Fréderic Thiriez, president of France’s Football League said the proposal represented a 'lose-lose' situation for the clubs.

“France would lose its best players and the ability of the clubs to compete in Europe would decrease. The state would also lose some of its biggest contributors in terms of tax,” said.

"This will strangle the clubs."

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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