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Nov 15, 2013

French strike over 75% tax postponed

The union of France's professional football clubs has voted to postpone planned strike action as negotiations over the government's proposed 75 percent tax rate continue while Monaco have hinted at withdrawing from Ligue 1 if the measure is applied to them.

Monaco's Russian president Dmitri Rybolovlev
Rybolovlev is against moving Monaco's base to France to comply with the proposed tax hike.

Holyman: Taxing the rich

The UCPF's executive committee voted on Thursday to put off the intended boycott of games, scheduled for Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 1, following a meeting the previous day with Socialist MP Jean Glavany, who has stepped in to mediate between Francois Hollande's government and the clubs.

A proposal put forward by Hollande is currently making its way through France's democratic processes and, if passed, would see clubs taxed at 75 percent on all salaries they pay over one million euros.

"A constructive dialogue has been started," Jean-Pierre Louvel, the UCPF president, said.  It was agreed that all the problems could not be ironed out in a single session. Therefore, we have decided to put our faith in these discussions and to postpone the boycott to a later date."

No deadline has been set for an end to negotiations with a number of meetings scheduled in an attempt to respond to clubs' fears over the proposal, which would see them contribute an additional 44 million euros to the state.

Currently exempt from French tax law, Monaco are determined to remain outside of Hollande's fiscal reach. A French Football League (LFP) decision that all clubs playing within their competitions would have to be based in France for tax purposes come the end of the current season would force the principality side to pay the new tax rate, if it is enacted.

However, the Ligue 1 title challengers told a meeting of the LFP's Administrative Council on Thursday that the club's owner, Russian billionaire Dmitri Rybolovlev, has no intention of meeting the new requirements.

"After consultation with the highest authorities of the club, it has been decided that we cannot in any case comply and move our headquarters into France. The state of Monaco cannot envisage such an outcome either," Willy De Bruyn, a Monaco official, said, adding that the outcome of the club's appeal to France's highest court for administrative matters, the State Council, would not change their position.

"Even if the decision of the State Council goes against us, which I don't think it will, the problem will remain as it is."

Monaco argued that their small stadium and meagre attendances, which at an average of just over 10,000 are the third-lowest in the top flight this season, meant they should keep their privileged position.

"We also explained to the Administrative Council what we bring to French football," Vadim Vasilyev, Monaco's vice-president, said, after having pointed out to the LFP that the riches of the club's squad and owner were already trickling down to other teams and will have a positive impact on all aspects of the game in the future.

"There are the renegotiations of domestic TV rights in 2016, the international rights of L1, the improvement of France's UEFA coefficient, the loaning out of players, filling opposition stadiums, the arrival of new sponsors and new investors."

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