French football cries foul on 75% supertax

France's new 75% supertax could hit its football prospects. French Football Federation president Noël Le Graët claims he was reassured that President François Hollande's new tax - which applies on earnings more than €1m - would not apply to football players.

Not anymore. Will the ruling seriously inflict France's football prospects?


"This new tax will cost first division teams €182  million (£154  million)," the head of France's professional football league, Frédéric Thiriez, is quoted in the Telegraph. "With these crazy labour costs, France will lose its best players, our clubs will see their competitiveness in Europe decline, and the government will lose its best taxpayers."

It's thought French team Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), France's wealthiest club, will feel the most heat; it contains at least 10 players on more than an estimated €1m a year. However David Beckham's tax arrangements during his five month sojourn with PSG will not be affected.

Good living

"I don't think it's good for French football, it's not good for French clubs and it's not good for the place of (France's) Ligue 1 in the world," Nasser al-Khelaifi, PSG's chairman, told French radio station France Info in an interview.

French football players that earn around the €1m threshold still earn a very good living. Hollande introduced the move to raise revenues in an attempt to lower France's public deficit - the European ceiling is 3% - though currently he's likely to miss this target.

What Hollande has also done is trigger a debate about how much very well-off people will pay towards the common taxation pot; clearly he's going in a different direction to that of the Coalition, which recently lowered the top rate of tax from 50p to 45p for those earning more than £150,000 a year, dragging many more professionals on far more modest salaries into the 40% tax band.

Moral salute

"I want to salute the values of those who no doubt have lots but agree to pay their taxes in France," said Holland recently, "to produce in France, to create jobs in France, to serve their country."

High earner author JK Rowling agrees. The writer told the Times last year she wanted her children to have proper roots "in a culture as old and magnificent as Britain's; to be citizens, with everything that implies, of a real country, not free-floating ex-pats, living in the limbo of some tax haven and associating only with the children of similarly greedy tax exiles."

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