Thursday Kickoff: French clubs plan strike; Puyol fit for El Clasico; and more

LucasParisSaintGermain1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

With their belief that the future of French soccer could be in peril, club’s in France’s top two divisions are preparing to take a serious stand against the French government.

According to reports in France, Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs will go on strike at the end of November, refusing to play matches scheduled during the weekend of Nov. 29-Dec. 2 in protest of the government’s new tax law, which calls for a 75 percent tax to anyone earning more than one million Euros. French clubs are worried that talented players will leave France or choose play elsewhere due to most club’s inability to pay that large amount of taxes on more than just a handful of players.

”It’s a historic moment for French football. The whole of football has taken a very important decision,” Jean-Pierre Louvel, president of the Union of Professional Football Clubs told the AP. “We’re talking about the death of French football. That’s why we are fighting and we will continue to fight.”

According to the reports, the tax was a campaign promise from current Prime Minister Francois Hollande and would only be in place for two years, starting this year, and it’s expected to bring in €420 million ($580 million). Another big controversy with this law is that AS Monaco are exempt from paying the tax as they don’t fall under France’s tax law jurisdiction.

Here are some more stories to start your Thursday:

PUYOL DECLARES FITNESS FOR EL CLASICO

After missing more than six months with a serious knee injury, Carles Puyol is ready to regain his regular starting spot in Barcelona’s starting eleven.

The veteran defender went the full 90 in last Saturday’s scoreless draw at Osasuna but even though he was left out of the squad that playing in Milan, Puyol declared his fitness for this weekend’s El Clasico clash with Real Madrid.

“I feel great,” Puyol told Dario AS in Spain. “After Osasuna I exercised well and every day I feel better. I had doubts how (the knee) would react. I trained a little harder and the result was better than I expected.”

Puyol’s return comes at an important time with fellow Barcelona centerback Gerard Pique struggling with his fitness recently. Pique missed training on Wednesday following reports that he felt pain in his left leg.

QUICK KICKS

Ajax could face sanctions from UEFA after the behaivior of their visiting supporters on Tuesday at Celtic Park. (REPORT)

Players association FIFPro has said that the referee in the CSKA Moscov vs. Manchester City match failed to conduct the racism protocol when Yaya Toure pointed out the behavior from the stands. (REPORT)

Crystal Palace is approaching former Stoke City manager Tony Pulis over Palace’s open managerial position. (REPORT)

Club Tijuana has scheduled a friendly match against Club America set to take place at the StubHub Center on December 28. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you agree with the decision to go on strike? Do you see the tax having a huge effect on French soccer? Do you see Puyol starting for Barcelona on Saturday against Real Madrid?

Share your thoughts below.

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25 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: French clubs plan strike; Puyol fit for El Clasico; and more

  1. Palisades says:

    Not too surprising.

    link to telegraph.co.uk

    “Entrepreneurs are really hunted away from the country. Many stupid decisions were implemented to hit them. One example : I’ve created a business 7 years ago and if I sell it now, I will have to pay 60 % of the value I’ve created. Unfair and discouraging.”

  2. DC Josh says:

    Didn’t France learn anything from the French Revolution?

  3. dude says:

    Just try and take away 75% of Ibra’s money. I really want to see that.

    • Good Jeremy says:

      they’ll have to send Gooch in to pull that off.

    • AcidBurn says:

      You don’t mess with the Zlatan.

      Actually, I thought Ibra’s contract was negotiated in post-tax dollars, so actually for him it doesn’t matter. But I’m sure most contracts are not that way, so I can see why other footballers would be irate.

      And by the way, Falcao says hi…and then he just takes another dip in his swimming pool full of tax-free dollars.

    • Joe+G says:

      Actually, the tax is to be paid by the clubs, not the players. That’s why the clubs are supporting the boycott.

  4. solles says:

    meh they’re french. they strike. I actually surprised this doesnt happen more in that country.

  5. 2tone says:

    Good old socialist governments.

  6. Good Jeremy says:

    I’m pleasantly surprised that this page hasn’t turned into a political argument board.
    It’s good to see that we are mature and not bickering here, I just wish the dirty socialist pigs in France would do the same.

  7. Stinnsy says:

    Good. The French government deserves that money more than they do.

    • Ian says:

      Right, because the French government is out on the pitch entertaining thousands of people each weekend. You ought to rethink what it means to deserve something.

    • Chris says:

      Yeah, if anyone knows how to make the most of money it’s the French government. :D

  8. OB Rick says:

    You can’t tax your way to prosperity. France is in a hole from spending way way too much money for too long. People in France (and in the USA) want more and more “free” stuff from the government.

    • Michael says:

      Hmmm…the higher taxes of the Eisenhower years – an era of great prosperity – might disagree with your right-wing talking point, chief.

  9. The Imperative Voice says:

    You sign to play in France and then complain about taxes? Particuarly considering this tax has a USD 1.6 million (Euro 1 million) trigger you’re talking about the elite teams and elite players.

    • Yevgeniy says:

      Hmmm, not really. You are talking about elite players on most teams and almost all players on the elite teams

  10. Increase says:

    I’m trying to avoid politics but I feel that the logic here is fairly straightforward and mostly limited to soccer.

    This law will be limited to small amounts of highly wealthy people. However these same people are highly mobile due to their wealth. Some will stay but many will go.

    This however is not true for soccer. Monaco and PSG will utterly dominate Ligue Un. PSG might well consider stationing their players in Belgium and flying them in for games.(It’s only an hour flight. France is not really all that big.)

    It should also be noted that France(unlike the US) does not taxes citizens working abroad.(I’m not 100% on this) I only have anecdotal evidence on this. I used to work with a French guy who told me he didn’t have to report or pay his income to the French government. Mind you it might be due to a income bracket, you only have to pay for overseas income if you make more than 90,0000 a year.

    • Ian says:

      And that absolutely blows for Ligue 1. Basically, French football is about to enter a period of even deeper disparity between top and bottom clubs – or rather, monied and not.

  11. Utlee says:

    Jean-Pierre, man of the people, Louvel

  12. Dan says:

    You might as well hand the title over to Monaco the next few years at this rate. No team, not even PSG, can stay competitive when facing a 75% wedge between what they have to pay a player and what that player ultimately receives.

    I understand that it only affects the upper echelon, but that’s what’s relevant as far as league titles and the champions league go. Half the French national team already plays in England. Expect that number to go up.

  13. Nic D "The TX 2 Stepper" says:

    They couldn’t ask for 50%? 51%? 55%? I guess that just doesn’t raise enough capital. That 75% is pretty astounding.

  14. Ian says:

    Horrible move by Holland. France will always have high taxes. It works for French society, but how high is too high? Ask ten economists and you’ll get ten different answers, but I’ll be 75% is too high for most – especially when it starts affecting football. :)

  15. Kevin_H says:

    Is this 75% tax on the entire salary, or just the part of it that’s over one million Euros?

    There’s a big difference… Otherwise you’d be making more money getting paid 900K Euros vs. 1.1 million. That doesn’t quite make sense.

  16. The Imperative Voice says:

    I find the contrast between this thread and the EJ thread amusing.

  17. Joe says:

    Good bye Ligue 1; Every good player will be on their “Gerard Depardieu” status and get the heck out.