Football: French clubs to strike over super tax

PARIS (REUTERS) - French football clubs will stage a strike at the end of next month in protest at the French government's super tax, the nation's professional clubs' union (UCPF) said on Thursday.

"There will be a weekend without a game at the end of the month (of November)," Jean-Pierre Louvel, the UCPF president, told a news conference.

"It is the survival of French football that is at stake,"Louvel then told ITele.

The strike will affect Ligue 1 and 2 matches from Nov 29 to Dec 2.

The strike is the latest blow to President Francois Hollande, whose government is already suffering from record-low popularity ratings because of high unemployment and internal bickering over immigration policy.

Four-fifths of French voters believe the Socialist will not win the next presidential election in 2017, a Harris Interactive poll for Le Figaro daily and LCP television showed on Thursday.

The 75 per cent tax rate was initially to be paid by those earning over one million euros (S$1.7 million) a year.

After protests by top French executives and actors such as Gerard Depardieu, the government changed the law so that it would be payable by the companies offering such salaries.

The tax is applicable to annual revenues above one million euros although there is a 5 per cent cap of a company's turnover.

Paris St-Germain, who are backed by Qatar investors, will be the hardest hit by the tax while Monaco, backed by a Russian billionaire, will be exempt as they do not fall under French tax laws.

Mr Hollande is to meet French clubs' representatives next week to discuss the tax.

"We will ask him once again to drop this tax," said Louvel.

The French clubs are backed by the League (LFP) in their fight against the government.

"I fully approve of the clubs' determination and I understand their exasperation," LFP president Frederic Thiriez told reporters.