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Apr 3, 2013

France urged to drop 75% tax for players

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has urged the French government to be "rational" and hopes to find "a win-win" solution to proposals to levy a potentially crippling 75% rate of tax on footballer's incomes.

One thousand people in France, including some 100 French top-flight footballers, would be concerned by the proposal made by President Francois Hollande to tax all income above €1 million a year at 75%. Many figures within French football have claimed the move would be disastrous for the game in the country with an estimated cost to clubs of an additional €85 million on what they already pay the state.

Le Parisien reported on Wednesday an email was being circulated among club presidents urging them to present a united front against the proposal. Aulas, 64, told OL TV he is hoping both parties can emerge happily from the situation.

"You have to be rational and show optimism," Aulas, who is also a successful businessman, said. "We're going to find a solution which will be win-win for everyone. Clearly, football cannot allow this to happen."

Having announced earlier this season the OL squad needed to be trimmed to fill a €28 million hole in its books, and with players such as Yoann Gourcuff, who earns €6.8 million annually, on elevated salaries, Aulas acknowledged his club would be seriously adversely affected with an extra "€15-17 million" to be paid. "It would be counter-productive. I think reason will win the day," he added.

Marseille counterpart Vincent Labrune, who recently announced he had finally put the club on a healthy financial footing, was more alarmist, telling the media: "It would all but negate our participation in the Champions League. We'd go under. I don't see how we can survive."

Despite Zlatan Ibrahimovic earning a massive €14 million after tax yearly, and players such as Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi both pocketing an annual €9 million, Paris Saint-Germain face no such worries given the all-but-limitless resources of their Qatari owners. However, president Nasser Al-Khelaifi told L'Equipe earlier this week he would show solidarity with his colleagues.

"If I only thought about myself, I could say: 'It's not a problem, I can pay the 75%'. But the other clubs can't think like that. Ligue 1 risks being weakened, and no club wants a weakened league."

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