Paris: Paris Saint-Germain emergence as a new football force in Europe may have augured well for image of French football but their complete dominance at their domestic club level has posed serious questions about the standard of 'Ligue 1' with other clubs paying the price of a complex tax structure.
Even the top officials of League de Football Professional (LFP) admit that PSG in the last four years have made it a 'One Team Show' in the French League.
Sample this: After end of 26 rounds, PSG have sealed the Ligue 1 title with 70 points to their credit. The second placed Monaco are 24 points behind at 46 points. There are still 12 rounds to go in the 38-round competition and PSG's stellar show has made the French League inconsequential.
"Earlier, PSG used to win Ligue 1 title on match day 35 or 36. This time they had clinched it by match day 25. It is a very complex situation. PSG is the flagship of Ligue 1 but the competition has become very uneven. With huge Qatari investment, PSG have recruited the best players while some of the other top teams are suffering due to injuries and a complex tax constraints," Mathieu Ficot, Chief Commercial Officer of French League said during an interaction.
Ficot then elaborates the perils of France's social tax structure which leads to 40 per cent of a footballer's wages being deducted on taxes.
"A small example will help you guys understand the problem. In Germany, the social tax structure ceiling is 20,000 Euros. Now the working class pays that amount as social tax. But Bayern Munich's Polish star Robert Lewandowski, who earns millions of Euros in wages, also pays 20,000 Euros as taxes. But in France, if he would have earned -- say 20 million Euros gross in wages, after tax deduction, it would have ended at around less than 10 million euros. This is where French football is suffering," Ficot explained.
"If you want competition for PSG in French League, teams like Monaco, Lyon will have to get as big an investment as Qatar Investment Authority (QIA). But a big investor will come to Paris which has more than 12 million inhabitants. It is difficult for clubs outside Paris to attract such huge amount of money. Then apart from tax burden, there would be agent's commission, which can also be a big headache," Ficot said.
So can't the French League authorities take up the matter with government to get some relief on tax constraints, the answer was a flat "No" from Ficot.
"Right now French League clubs cumulatively pay around 700 million Euros as taxes. This is the money spent by the government in social causes. So for example, if we get tax subsidies of around 300 million Euros, then it will not go down well among common people. Every year there are atleast 10 per cent people who are unemployed. The government will find it difficult to explain the tax benefit," added Ficot.