Minister wants talks over Monaco
French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici says that dialogue is required to ensure that a change to Monaco’s privileged financial position goes smoothly, while also promising to meet the league over concerns about a 75% tax for millionaires.
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In March, the French Football League (LFP) sought to end Monaco’s competitive advantage over other clubs by ruling that they must have their headquarters based in France by June 2014.
Currently, the club from the principality benefit from a 19th-century agreement that means foreign players do not have to pay income tax, which has helped the Ligue 2 champions splash out over €145 million on players like Radamel Falcao and Joao Moutinho this summer.
Monaco would be barred from entering French competitions if they do not move HQ in time but the Russian-owned club are contesting the decision.
Moscovici, though, told L’Equipe that the league has a responsibility to ensure the change goes well.
“Since 1933, there has been a historic relationship between Monaco and French football,” he said. “France has no intention that this relationship might be stopped. On the contrary. Monaco’s investment allows Ligue 1 to have stars and adds some spice to our championship. There does have to be equal treatment for all professional clubs though.
“It’s necessary to talk to Monaco. There is a one-year delay to find the planned solutions. If the league has set down a very important act of principle, they’ve also opened space for a discussion. You have to have faith in the wisdom of the sporting authorities.”
Moscovici also told L’Equipe that he had no problem with the likes of Monaco or Paris Saint-Germain being owned by Russian and Qatari investors.
“In principle, I’m very open to foreign investment in France. It plays a part in making the country attractive. In football, it’s allowing our league to rediscover some vitality. But you have to make sure that the business model of clubs is sufficiently strong to withstand the potential for an investor to lose interest.”
A proposed tax of 75% for individuals earning over €1 million per year — to be paid by employers — has met with fierce resistance from the LFP.
The league says it could cost French clubs €80 million but, as well as querying that figure, Moscovici stressed that the tax would only last for two years.
“I’m going to meet (LFP president) Frederic Thiriez,” he said. “My minister’s calculations make it around €45 million. This tax is an effort requested for a limited period, of companies that pay extremely big salaries, in virtue of the effort that everyone has to make to help the country recover.”