Taxman worries Wenger

Foreign stars may shun Prem over tax, warns Wenger

April 26, 2009

Arsene Wenger has warned that changes to the British tax system could stem the flow of foreign talent to the Premier League.

Chancellor Alistair Darling this week revealed plans to raise the top rate of income tax to 50% for earnings over £150,000 a year - a policy the Frenchman thinks could prove prohibitive to well-paid footballers.

The falling value of sterling against the euro is another concern, with club's spending power significantly hit by the plummeting pound.

Asked whether English football relied too heavily on imported talent, Wenger said: "Don't worry, that time will soon be over because with the new taxation system and with the collapse of sterling... the domination of the Premier League will end.

"The pound was at 1.45 or 1.60 (euros) at one stage...from one day to the next it will be a financial problem for all the English clubs.''

Birmingham City co-owner David Sullivan echoed Wenger's sentiments, predicting that England would no longer enjoy pre-eminence in the transfer market.

"The pound and the tax are issues because the majority of players still come from the eurozone,'' Sullivan told The Sunday Times.

"If players think tax changes mean they're losing out, they will ask for more.

"They do their sums, their agents do their sums and if you don't pay what they want maybe they go. The Premier League clubs have had an extraordinary 10-15 years where they've achieved total domination.

"If that reverses it's hardly a correction we can moan about, it's just a levelling of the playing field.''