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October 31, 2013

French football strike looms

By Vincent Huck

The French president Holland is currently in discussions with a delegation of football clubs owners to discuss a new tax, which is likely to hit football clubs that pay players over €1m a year. The French government wants to tax earning exceeding €1m with a 75% tax rate, which would be paid by the clubs.

The meeting has come a week after the Union des clubs professionnels de football (UCPF, the French clubs association) voted for a "white day", a euphemism for strike, on the last weekend of November. This would result in no match being played that weekend while stadiums will be open to the fans who will be informed on the reasons of this strike.

Club owners are worried that this tax will be a further pressure on their already weak financial situation and that the best players would leave for other European leagues. But for the French government a football club is a business like any other. And President Holland said: "The rule is the same for all."

The 75% tax was one of President Holland flagship proposals during his campaign. Originally it was designed to be paid by employees with very high incomes. A first draft was voted in parliament on December 2012 but was refused by the Conseil Consitutionnel, an independent authority which certifies the validity of a law.

In March 2013 President Holland announced that the tax will be paid by the businesses for their highly paid employees – in this case paid by football clubs. Fourteen out of the 20 clubs in the French first division will be affected by this tax with 114 players earning over €1m.

Related link:

UCPF open letter to president Holland (French)

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