French President Francois Hollande has told the country's professional football teams they will have to pay the 75 percent rate of income tax he wants to introduce following talks with club representatives.
During last year's election campaign, Hollande pledged a tax on all income over 1 million euros at 75 percent for the next two years -- a measure that met with popular approval. Clubs, not the players, will foot the bill, which will be limited to a percentage of their turnover.
Clubs argued the tax, which would add 44 million euros to the estimated 700 million euros the French state already receives from football, would badly damage the sport in the country. They want Hollande to enforce the measure only on new contracts that could have the tax factored in, rather than retroactively apply it to 2013 revenue in contracts already agreed upon.
However, Hollande met a high-powered quartet of football representatives -- Ligue 1 presidents Jean-Michel Aulas (Lyon), Michel Seydoux (Lille), Jean-Louis Triaud (Bordeaux), Vincent Labrune (Marseille), Jean-Francois Fortin of Ligue 2 side Caen and Jean-Pierre Louvel, president of Le Havre and the union of professional clubs (UCPF) -- at his Elysee Palace in Paris on Thursday only to confirm the proposal will be introduced unchanged.
"The necessity to balance the public accounts fully justify the effort demanded of companies who have made the choice to pay annual salaries at such a level," a press release from Hollande's office read.
Triaud told the press: "We spoke a lot, we were listened to, but I don't get the impression we were heard. The doors aren't definitively closed, but we didn't feel there was significant progress. So the action of the Ligue 1 clubs continues."
Louvel confirmed the planned strike for Nov. 29/30 will go ahead, but added discussions would continue.
He said: "We still have a month to talk and try to find some ways to adapt, not just for football but for all companies. That will allow football to absorb this tax, as it has never been a question of not paying it. We have never asked to be privileged. We simply asked that the specific nature of football be taken into account. For the moment, no solution has been found."