“Spoiled” Italian Football Players Don’t Want New Tax

August 18, 2011 Taxation in Italy

Football players protest new taxItaly’s latest austerity package was always expected to cause some controversy, but discussions are now getting heated as the country’s professional football players threaten to go on strike over the new solidarity tax measure.

In an interview with with local media on August 17th the Minister for Legislative Simplification of Italy Roberto Calderoli said that if the country’s professional football players continue with their threats of strikes over a new solidarity tax, the Minister will put forward a proposal to double their payment obligations. He also added that the country’s football players were now acting like “spoiled children”.

Under rules approved by the Cabinet of Italy last week, the country’s taxpayers will see a new “solidarity tax” on their earnings, with raised revenues earmarked to help the government address national debts. Under the new measure taxpayers with earnings exceeding EUR 90 000 per year will be required to pay an additional 5 percent tax on their incomes. The rate goes up to 10 percent for individuals with salaries above EUR 150 000.

Earlier in the week arguments arose between Italy’s top-series football players and their football clubs about whether the new tax should be covered by the players themselves or the clubs. Sportsmen who are part of the country’s players’ union currently have a clause in their contracts saying that the club is liable to pay the players’ tax obligations. However, new contracts which are scheduled to come into effect later in the year require the players to pay their taxes themselves.

The Italian players’ union is already threatening to strike over the dispute, which will potentially delay the beginning of the country’s Series A football league. Commenting on the chance of disruption to the national passtime, Roberto Calderoli said that football players who oppose paying the tax are a “caste of spoiled people”.

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