Prince Albert II, Monaco’s head of state, has expressed his confidence that the principality’s football club will prove successful as the French Football Federation (FFF) prepares to hear its appeal against the French Football League’s (LFP) decision to force the team to set up financial residence in France.
Monaco last month slammed the LFP’s ruling, stating the move “jeopardises their survival”. The club’s base in the Mediterranean principality allows it to benefit from the favourable tax laws in place there, rather than the far more stringent French laws which include proposals to tax annual earnings over Eur1 million at 75%. An agreement made in 1869 means Monaco can sign a foreign player without him having to pay income tax. Meanwhile, French players subject to French income tax regulations pay approximately 20% less in national insurance contributions on their salaries than their contemporaries playing for other clubs. However, the LFP has now ruled that all its clubs should be subject to the same financial regulations, giving Monaco until June 1, 2014 to fall in line. The club risks exclusion from LFP competitions if it fails to do so.
Speaking to Le Parisien newspaper, Prince Albert said: “We will fight all the way against this decision. The decision is not yet definitive and we are appealing. I think we have a case to argue. I hope that everything will be sorted out eventually, but we will take our fight all the way. This has generated a lot of noise because there is a lot of money in football. But there is lots of money in other professional sports too. Obviously, when people think they see someone else gaining an advantage, they become jealous and get upset. But we will study everything calmly and I sincerely believe everything will be sorted out.”
Monaco is currently staging a revival under the ownership of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who through his Monaco Sport Invest (MSI) company, acquired a 66.67% stake in the fallen giant in December 2011. Monaco currently sits top of Ligue 2, eight points clear of Nantes, and seems on course to return to Ligue 1 next season. Rybolovlev’s takeover saw 33% of the club remain under the control of the Association Sportive de Monaco Football Club, which represents the interests of the Principality of Monaco.