Ligue 1 news

Ligue 1 clubs consider strike action

October 17, 2013
By Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Clubs in France's top two divisions are considering strike action in response to the government's proposal to introduce a 75 percent rate of income tax which teams fear could cripple football in the country.

PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi welcomes the club's rivalry with Monaco.
GettyImagesPSG owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi has the funds to sidestep a rise in tax.

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One of president François Hollande's headline-grabbing proposals when he was pushing for election, the proposed policy would tax all earnings over 1 million euros a year at 75 percent. 

The move would directly affect 115 players and eight coaches of 14 clubs, and bring the state an additional 44 million euros, according to a study carried out by the French Football League (LFP) and reported in Le Parisien recently. 

Nearly half of the monies collected would come from Paris Saint-Germain, whose Qatari owners can afford to bankroll the estimated extra 20 million euros their highest earners would cost them. However, other clubs, such as Lyon and Marseille, and even Ajaccio and Guingamp, whose sole earners of more than 1 million euros earner would cost them an additional 50,000 euros each, could be severely handicapped by the tax.

At a meeting of the club's union (UCPF) on Tuesday, the body's executive committee examined potential protest action, including boycotting all Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 games over the weekend of Oct. 26, according to the Journal du Dimanche.

"For many clubs, it is a question of survival," Bernard Caiazzo, UCPF vice-president and Saint-Etienne president told the paper. "It's an alarming situation. It is extremely tense."

"Different scenarios were brought up. We'll show a very clear will," Jean-Pierre Louvel, both UCPF and Le Havre president, told the Journal du Dimanche. "But we're not at that stage yet. It'll depend on the attitude and the potential discussions we'll have with the authorities as well as the will of our clubs."

Louvel added: "In fact, this tax doesn't only concern those L1 clubs. It puts everyone in jeopardy when French football already has a deficit. If L1 is weakened economically, it will have fewer means to recruit, TV rights will fall, L2 will suffer And I remind you there are 25,000 jobs directly and indirectly involved."

A final decision on strike action will be taken at a UCPF extraordinary general assembly called for next Thursday. 

Should clubs vote against a strike, club presidents may instead opt to snub the Glavany commission, established by the Ministry for Sport, to look into making football sustainable. 

In late September, Valerie Fourneyron, France's Sports Minister, ruled out granting football clubs an exception with regard to the tax, but did state "the amount would be limited based on their turnover" and would take into account "the fragility of their economic model."

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