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SBD Global/November 1, 2013/Finance

French President François Hollande Forces Football Clubs To Swallow 75% Tax

French President François Hollande "showed no mercy for France’s top football clubs on Thursday, refusing to let them off paying" his 75% income tax bracket on salaries above €1M ($1.37M), according to Hugh Carnegy of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The clubs "had protested that the 'unfair and discriminatory' levy threatened 'the death of French football,' cancelling all games over the last weekend of November in an unprecedented strike action in protest." But Hollande, under "withering fire from the French media" and opposition for a series of recent U-turns on tax, "had little alternative but to hold the line on a measure that was the flagship promise of his 2012 election campaign." A statement from the Elysée Palace after a special meeting with football administrators said that "the president reminded them the tax would apply for two years to all companies concerned." After the constitutional court ruled out applying the tax to individuals, Hollande "decided employers should instead pay the levy." The statement said, "The need to redress the public finances clearly justifies the effort made of businesses that make the choice to pay annual salaries at such a level." Professional football clubs union (UCPF) President Jean-Pierre Louvel said that "the strike at the end of November would go ahead and the clubs would boycott a commission set up by the government to look into football’s difficulties" (FT, 10/31).
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