Hollande-French football in 75% tax dispute: 1-0
French soccer clubs are set to strike after President Francois Hollande held his ground in the face of growing anger from team owners, declaring they would have to pay the 75 percent tax.
The socialist president stood strong in a meeting with the head of the French Football Federation and representatives of the country's top clubs, saying that the levy on salaries over 1 million euros ($1.4 million) will apply to clubs.
"The need to redress the public finances fully justifies the effort asked of companies who choose to pay annual salaries to such a level," a statement from the Elysée Palace said.
Jean-Pierre Louvel, president of UCPF, the union of professional football clubs, confirmed the strike would go ahead at the end of November, which would be the first footballer strike since 1972.
But this is likely to be seen as a victory for Hollande who has been forced into a series of tax U-turns this month. On Monday the government suspended the introduction of a new "ecotax" on large vehicles.
"It is difficult to see how this strike will have an effect and Hollande will get what he wants. They (football clubs) just look greedy and stupid," Peter Berlin, European soccer writer at Sports Illustrated, told CNBC.
Opinion polls in France supported Hollande's stance but the move is unlikely to bolster his overall appeal which is very low in the country. Unpopular taxes and his weak handling of the deportation of a Roma schoolgirl and her family have led to a further drop.
The 75 percent tax will apply for two years and was introduced to clubs after France's constitutional court declared it illegal to place it on individual salaries. Instead, the tax will hit the clubs employing high-earning footballers.
The levy may however not have the desired effect of hitting the richest clubs hardest due to the fact that the tax is capped at 5 percent of the clubs' revenues.
Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain will not be too fazed by the measure, according to Berlin. Monaco will also be let off the hook as it is based in Monte Carlo and does not come under the French tax regime.
The tax could force some of France's top flight players to move away from the country, Berlin told CNBC.
"The footballers are in a way the innocent victims here. But they will move and go elsewhere."