France's Socialist government
denounced the size of football pay on Wednesday as the
big-spending club Paris Saint-Germain celebrated the arrival of
striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The French club did not go public with the financial terms
of the deal that lured Ibrahimovic from AC Milan but media put
the annual pay at 14 million euros net of tax,
in a country where incomes upwards of one million are soon set
to be hit by a new super-tax of 75 percent.
French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said
the 27-year-old would be taxed like anyone else and that there
was no reason football players should escape the 75 percent rate
promised for later this year by President Francois Hollande.
"Between you and me I think a lot of people are shocked by
the income the player you are talking about will make," the
spokeswoman told reporters at a briefing following a weekly
government cabinet meeting.
Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron went further, saying it
was time to tackle a problem of excessive pay in the football
business across Europe, where most governments are struggling to
prevent debts spinning out of control.
"European [football] clubs' deficits are worth 1.5 billion
euros at the moment - that should be cause for thought," said
the minister, who added regulations should be used to close the
lid on "astronomical" pay awards.
To ensure an after-tax salary of 14 million euros a year,
the Paris Saint-Germain club would need to pay in the region of
35 million euros a year under France's tax system as it stands
and perhaps 70-80 million euros once the 75 percent tax rate
kicks in, according to back-of-envelope estimates by fiscal
experts contacted by Reuters.
That is as much as the annual budget of some small clubs in
the country's leading football league.
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