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SBD Global/October 29, 2013/International Football

French President Francois Hollande To Meet With Football Clubs Over Tax Hike

France's professional football clubs "have welcomed President Francois Hollande's decision to sit down and discuss his proposal to levy a potentially crippling" 75% tax on all income over €1M ($1.4M), according to Ian Holyman of ESPN. The measure, which will apply to revenue in '13 and '14, will bring the state an estimated extra €44M ($61M) from France's clubs, "with some 15 directly affected." The professional club's union, the UCPF, argues that "the measure will prove catastrophic for the sport in the country as a whole and having announced they will go on strike during the weekend of Nov. 30 if the proposal is not modified." Hollande has agreed to meet representatives of clubs on Thursday, and UCPF President Jean-Pierre Louvel said that "the head of state's offer of talks was a positive step." Louvel said, "I think if he is willing to see us it's because there is a desire to try and discuss. If it's to try and fully understand football's current problems and try to find solutions, then we're open to discussion. We didn't say that we rejected the tax, we said that we reject it in its current form" (ESPN, 10/28). SOCCEREX reported Hollande has insisted that "no sectors will be exempt from the new regulations." Hollande: "When the tax law is voted, the law will be the same for all companies regardless of what they are. This does not stop us from having a dialogue on the difficulties facing professional clubs, but everyone needs to be aware of the rules" (SOCCEREX, 10/28). INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Andrew Warshaw wrote UEFA President Michel Platini "has warned that a planned strike by French clubs over the government's proposed supertax could backfire." Platini: "Players who go on strike, with the salaries they earn, that's really going to go down well, isn't it? I'm pretty sure it's going to set some tongues' wagging. There are not many strikes which are understood by the public. Is that good or bad? I've no idea" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 10/28).
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