France’s Union of Professional Football Clubs (UCPF) has called off planned strike action in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 from November 29 to December 2 in favour of further talks over the controversial ‘super tax’ that is set to be introduced by the French government.
Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs called for the first strike action in French football since 1972 as the long-running dispute over the super tax came to a head last month. A meeting of the UCPF saw clubs address the issue and draw up a campaign entitled ‘Football in Danger – all together’. The government of President Francois Hollande has long sought to introduce a 75% upper income tax rate that will apply to anyone earning in excess of Eur1 million per year. The new tax is seen as a means to aid the ailing French economy, but clubs and the French Football League (LFP), which had given its full backing to the strike action, have repeatedly expressed their concern over its impact. The UCPF announced that the strike would not go ahead following a meeting on Thursday. However, UCPF president Jean-Pierre Louvel added that the proposal was “not cancelled” and action could still be taken if negotiations over the tax fail.
Talks had started on Wednesday evening between UCPF representatives and Socialist MP Jean Glavany at the headquarters of the French Football Federation in Paris. At a meeting last month, Hollande rejected the clubs’ request to be exempt from the 75% tax stressing that clubs needed to work with the government on developing a “durable and balanced economic model”, adding that the tax must apply to “all companies concerned”. The AFP news agency said that Glavany on Wednesday stated that the government would “not go back on the principle” of the new tax but did raise the prospect of carrying out a study into how it could best be applied to football.
In a statement on Thursday, Louvel said: “Last night a constructive dialogue was begun with Mr Glavany. In the present context it is important that the dialogue is established in the interest of football and solidarity. We are determined to succeed, because failure would be disastrous for the football pyramid and the sport itself. We have made a decisive move and hope that the outcome time is short.”