French football clubs call off strike over tax

French football clubs call off strike over tax
Photo: AFP
Football clubs in France ditched plans on Thursday to strike against the government's 75 percent tax on millionaire earners. Club chiefs, who had planned to boycott fixtures on the last weekend of November, now say it will go ahead at a later date.

The move to call off the strike follows talks this week at the French Football Federation between industry professionals and the government's representative, Socialist deputy Jean Glavany, the head of a working group on sustainable football.

The historic strike – had been planned for the last weekend of November and included clubs from France's Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 first and second divisions. It would have been the first such walk-out in French football since 1972.

Jean-Pierre Louvel, president of the Professional Football Clubs Union (UCPF) said the strike "has not been cancelled" but would go ahead at a later date should "negotiations over the 75% tax fail".

Only last month the strike seemed inevitable after club chiefs walked away empty-handed from talks with Francois Hollande at which the French president refused to exempt them from a proposed 75-percent tax on players earning over €1 million a year.

Under the tax proposal, companies, including football clubs, will be liable to pay the 75 tax rate for the portion of employees' salaries above €1 million annually and is set to come into force for 2014 and 2015, and therefore applied to earnings for 2013 and 2014.

UCPF which is leading the rebellion insists that the tax, on wages over €1 million, will bring football clubs to their knees. The President of Lyon Jean-Michel Aulas said clubs were being “taken hostage”.

Louvel president of the UCPF said they will not be pushing for a complete withdrawal of the draft law, but will demand that it is not applied to 2013 salaries, as is planned. 

Louvel had said clubs, concerned that their ability to attract high-earning top players from abroad to play in France will be hit, would open their doors to fans to explain to supporters why they needed to take such drastic measures.

The President of Lyon Jean-Michel Aulas said clubs were being “taken hostage”.




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