Hollande refuses to exempt footballers from 75% tax


French President François Hollande said on Thursday that he would not exempt professional football players from a proposed 75 percent income tax, prompting the country’s top clubs to state that the planned November strike would now go ahead.


French President François Hollande showed football clubs the red card on Thursday in the face of protests over plans to impose a 75 percent tax on earnings over one million euros a year.

The Socialist president refused to budge on the issue after meeting the chiefs of some of the country’s top tier football clubs earlier in the day, who have threatened to strike over the tax. The Union of Professional Football Clubs (UCPF), which represents France’s first and second division teams, stated that they would now go ahead with plans to strike at the end of November in response to Hollande’s position.

The UCPF has argued that the tax would make it impossible to compete with other European clubs, driving the country’s most talented players abroad.

No exceptions

Hollande was quoted in a statement as saying that the tax would apply to “all companies concerned,” confirming that no exception would be made for the sport.

The head of the UCPF said that plans to boycott Ligue 1 and 2 matches would now go ahead on the weekend of November 29.

Taxing France’s highest incomes at 75 percent was one of the signature promises Hollande made during his successful 2012 presidential campaign.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Thursday that French people “would not understand why football companies should be exonerated” from the tax.

“During difficult times it is normal to call on those who are better off to show more solidarity,” Ayrault told the "Kommersant" newspaper in Russia, where he is on an official two-day visit.
Ayrault reiterated that the tax would only last two years and was only applicable to salaries that exceeded one million euros.

Earlier this week, France’s government back-pedalled on a new “ecotax” on transport vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes after angry truckers and farmers in the western Brittany region staged protests and closed highways.

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