French PM calls for solidarity on 75 per cent tax before showdown with football bosses

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The French prime minister is standing firm on the socialist government's policy of a 75 per cent tax on those earning over €1m (£856,000), as bosses from France's leading football clubs prepare to meet President Francois Hollande to argue against the tax.

The tax is designed so that companies will be liable to pay 75 per cent on any employee's salary above €1m and will come into effect later this year.

Speaking to Russian newspaper Kommersant, the prime minister said:

The French do not understand why football clubs would have been exempt from participation in a common cause. This extraordinary effort - contribution to the restoration of the situation of the country.

Our government has decided to proceed with the recovery of France, not for idle pleasure, but because it is the only way to permanently preserve its values, its ideas, its model. And we will not quit from this path.

Club chances of persuading the government to change course remain slim, with 85 per cent of the French public backing the tax. The polls will no doubt encourage the government, which believes the tax is a symbol of justice in difficult economic circumstances, with French PM, Jean-Marc Ayrault, declaring that “in these difficult times, it is normal to call for more solidarity from those who have the most resources.”

Football clubs have threatened to strike should the tax be introduced, with possible boycotts for matches on 29 November and 2 December.

The president of the Union of Professional Clubs, Lyon jean-Michel Aulus has said the tax would damage the industry and that football clubs were being "taken hostage" and could lead to tax "the death of French football."

It has been estimated that the tax could cost league one clubs €44m (£38m) involving 120 players and 14 clubs.