French Football Cancels Matches To Protest Against Tax
GETTING footballers to show any sort of excitement, opinion or passion for anything is nigh on impossible. All over the world, they talk in monotone voices, all the life trained out of them and blurbling on and on, vaguely about results and teamwork.
Unless, of course, it involves money.
French professional football clubs have scrubbed all matches over one weekend in November to protest against President François Hollande’s 75% “super tax” on high salaries.
Jean-Pierre Louvel, president of the Union of Professional Football Clubs, said the tax (kicking off next year) would be the “death of French football“.
“That’s why we are fighting and we will continue to fight,” he said after an emergency meeting of clubs yesterday.
So, that means all the games in the French leagues will be cancelled and instead, in a bid to avoid looking like greedy buggers who couldn’t care less about the fans, the clubs will invite fans to come to open training sessions where they will be asked to join French football’s campaign against the super-tax.
One problem. A poll this week found that 85% of French people think that the tax on income over €1m should apply to professional football.
A second problem is that TV companies and advertisers who have multi-million euro contracts with the teams are not amused at all and are looking at taking legal action.
Club representatives will meet President Hollande next week in a final attempt to persuade him to give football an exemption from this new super tax, even though the government is keen to point out that it has already “capped” the super tax liability of French clubs at 5% of their revenues.
Furthermore, this super tax is supposed to only two years while France reduces its budget deficit.
So, Hollande is suggesting that, for a couple of years, French clubs give up some money which equates to one signing (PSG would be giving up more than a smaller club for instance) to help reduce the country’s deficit and, on top of the, advertisers and TV companies will probably sue them for more than the clubs are actually losing AND the fans back this short term plan… its leaving French football looking a bit dim.
Photo: UCPF (Union of Professional Football Clubs), president Jean-Pierre Louvel, center, addresses a press conference with Saint Etienne team vice president Bernard Rizzo, left, and French soccer league chairman Frederic Thiriez in Paris, Thursday Oct. 24, 2013, after France’s professional clubs held an extraordinary general meeting to discuss government plans to implement a 75-percent tax law for those who earn more than 1 million euros per year.