FOOTBALLERS and other professional sportspeople are to lose a €30 million tax allowance in order to help the social security books to balance.
The National Assembly voted to get rid of the Droit à l'Image Collective (DIC) which allows sports professionals to avoid taxes on 30% of their earnings. Introduced in 2008, it was intended to continue until 2012 and has been credited with allowing French football and rugby clubs to bring in big name stars.
Sports minister Rama Yade has attacked the plan as "dangerous" and harmful to the competitiveness of French sport.
UMP general secretary Xavier Bertrand said that with France bidding for the 2016 European championships it was not the time to be penalising players. French football clubs could not challenge on a European level because they could not attract players due to the France's tax regime and the DIC had allowed an easing of this to bring in the best players.
He added: "Football players still contribute €130 million in tax in France. The plan has no economic basis."
The president of the national rugby league (LNR), Pierre-Yves Revol, said if the DIC was abolished it would endanger the whole economy of the French game. For the Top 14 alone it means an extra €10 million and long-term contracts had already been signed so the clubs would have to pay it themselves.
He said: "We are changing the rules in the middle of the game."
However, Côtes d'Armor UMP MP Marc Le Fur said it was a very good move for taxpayers, asking why the taxpayer alone should pay so that France could compete with other big championships.
The plan, backed by health minister Roselyne Bachelot and budget minister Eric Woerth was approved by 91 votes to 22 but the social security budget proposals Projet de Loi de Financement de la Sécurité Sociale now have to go to the Senate.