New French taxes will be "disastrous" for football

PARIS Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:58pm BST

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PARIS (Reuters) - Clubs and players lashed out after the French government unveiled its 2013 budget on Friday, saying new tax plans would have a "disastrous effect" on domestic football.

Tax hikes include a "temporary" 75 percent levy on annual earnings in excess of one million euros ($1.29 million) and a new rate of 45 percent on incomes above 150,000 euros.

The existing rate is 40 percent on earnings above 69,505 euros. The government said the new "temporary" levy would be in operation until the country's debts were cleared.

"The taxes will have a disastrous effect on the competitiveness of French football," the professional clubs association (UCPF), the association of professional footballers (UNFP) and the French League (LFP) said in a joint statement.

UCPF chief Philippe Diallo told Reuters the new taxes would cost the clubs around 150 million euros.

"The impact is significant for us in a very unfavourable period for French football, since we lost 131 million euros in 2011," said Diallo.

"In some cases it is the club who will pay the taxes of the players."

Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who earns nine million euros a year at Paris St Germain according to media reports, will pay more than six million euros in taxes under the new government plans.

Socialist President Francois Hollande's 2013 budget amounts to France's toughest belt-tightening for 30 years.

The package aims to narrow the country's deficit to three percent of national output next year from 4.5 percent this year, bringing in 30 billion euros for the treasury.

(Reporting by Gregory Blachier and Julien Pretot; editing by Tony Jimenez)

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