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French football clubs call off strike over 75% tax

© AFP

Video by Mark THOMPSON

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-11-15

France’s top football clubs have called off a strike planned for the end of November in protest against the government’s plans to introduce a 75% tax on earnings over a million euros a year, the Union of Professional Football Clubs said on Thursday.

France’s top-tier football clubs have decided to postpone a strike at the end of November in protest against the government’s plans to impose a 75 percent tax on earnings over one million euros a year, the Union of Professional Football Clubs (UCPF) announced on Thursday.

The UCPF, which represents France’s first and second division teams, committed to boycotting matches on the weekend of November 29 after French President François Hollande confirmed that the sport would not be exempted from the tax earlier this month. The union argued in the past that the tax would make it impossible to compete with other European clubs, driving the country’s most talented players abroad.

UCPF President Jean-Pierre Louvel, however, has now issued a statement saying that the country’s football clubs are open to discussing the future of the sport in France.

"We decided to put off the day of action and come back to talks on 'sustainable football'," Louvel said.

Had the strike gone forward, it would have been the first such action in the sport since French league players protested about their contracts in 1972.

Fourteen of the 20 Ligue 1 clubs are to be affected by the tax on 2013 and 2014 salaries, including Qatar-funded Paris St Germain. Players at Monaco, backed by a Russian billionaire, will be exempt as they do not fall under French tax laws.

PSG, who have spent more than 200 million euros ($268 million) on transfers since being taken over by Qatar Sports Investments in 2011, are expected to pay some 20 million euros – just under half of the total the clubs would pay annually.

A poll of 961 people by Tilder-LCI-OpinionWay last month showed that 85 per cent of those asked do not want the football clubs to be exempt from the tax.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-11-14

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