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May 21, 2013

Lyon chief backs Monaco in tax row

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has claimed newly-promoted Monaco are only "defending themselves" as the Ligue 2 champions battle against a rule change that will affect their financial status.

• Blog: Money-bags Monaco

A decision by the French Football League's (LFP) Administrative Council to demand all club's participating in its competitions to be based in France for tax purposes by the end of the 2013-14 season or face exclusion would remove the privileged financial status Monaco have enjoyed for decades.

Agreements between France and the principality mean foreign players at the club do not pay income tax while all squad members cost Monaco less to employ than their French-based counterparts.

After an appeal to the French Football Federation (FFF) to resolve the matter ended in deadlock, Monaco have now asked France's equivalent of the Supreme Court for administrative issues, the Conseil d'Etat, to rule on the matter.

"Monaco are defending themselves, and they have an interest to defend themselves," Aulas is reported as saying in L'Equipe. "We're getting into complex things. The Conseil d'Etat could rule very decisively whereas we could have come to something more realistic through discussion."

The 64-year-old added that the club's financial muscle could have a beneficial knock-on effect for French football.

"If in the short term Monaco are a candidate for the Champions League, in the long term they could contribute to France having four teams in the competition," he said.

A number of Aulas' fellow Ligue 1 presidents have proven less conciliatory with a number of them reportedly considering boycotting games against Monaco next season.

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