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Ancelotti said simply: “If I have to pay 75 percent, I’m going to pay, because I am a citizen.”

PSG defender Christophe Jallet was more outspoken.

If the tax is levied, “We’ll have the feeling that we’re not getting much for our work. Yes, perhaps it will lead to a massive exodus of professional players.”

“Those lucky enough to succeed are somewhat being shot in the foot,” he said.

“It’s pure populism, in the approach to the elections, to ingratiate oneself with ordinary folk,” said player agent Bruno Satin.

Experts outside France say the burden of Hollande’s proposal would likely fall on French clubs, not players. To keep and recruit the best, owners may have to make up the amount players lose to the extra tax.

“But you’re looking at only probably a limited number of clubs that could afford to even contemplate considering doing that. It would be a significant problem for French football,” said Chris Farnell, a sports lawyer in England.

German lawyer Gregor Reiter, director of the German association of player agents, said the tax could hurt French football “but it’s not going to cause the ultimate death.”

“One advantage rich people have is that they are rich,” he noted. “So first of all they are able to hire extremely expensive and extremely well-trained tax lawyers. Secondly, they are able to move their assets to another country. That’s exactly what is going to happen.”


John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jleicester(at) or follow him at