France’s Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron has warned Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs against strike action over the government’s controversial ‘super tax’ proposal, stating the French public would not support such measures.
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 the French Football League (LFP) and clubs have repeatedly expressed their concern that its effect on a host of Ligue 1’s top stars could lead to a talent drain from France’s top flight. The tax rate has been included in the government’s 2014 budget, but has not yet been approved.
A new report on weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche’s website said Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs are considering boycotting all games over the weekend of October 25-26. The proposal has come after a meeting of the Union of Professional Football Clubs (UCPF), who will now meet to discuss different scenarios on October 24. “For many clubs, it is a question of survival,” said Bernard Caiazzo, UCPF vice-president and president of Saint-Etienne. “It’s an alarming situation. It is extremely tense.” Jean-Pierre Louvel, UCPF and Le Havre president, added: “Different scenarios were brought up. We’ll show a very clear will. But we’re not at that stage yet. It’ll depend on the attitude and the potential discussions we’ll have with the authorities as well as the will of our clubs.”
However, Fourneyron has given short shrift to talk of strike action. “I would be sorry that we have reached this point,” she said, according to Reuters. “At a time when all French people take part in the effort of recovery of the country, in the fight against unemployment and for the competitiveness of our companies, they would not understand that the world of professional football, which is seen as privileged, would not take part in this collective effort.”