Spanish big guns threaten La Liga strike as government looks to change 'David Beckham law' on tax
Spanish clubs have threatened to go on strike amid plans to wipe out tax laws that give La Liga a huge advantage over the Barclays Premier League.
The country's socialist government are supporting moves to end the so-called 'Beckham law', which allows high-earning foreigners to pay 24 per cent income tax instead of the 43 per cent levied on locals.
The Spanish League (LFP) have warned that their clubs will face a bill of more than £90million and could kill the competition.
The law coincided with David Beckham signing for Real Madrid from Manchester United in 2004.
It was designed to attract foreign executives to the country, but has helped Madrid and Barcelona to sign some of the best players in the world on contracts that would not be affordable to rivals across Europe.
If passed, the new law would come into effect on January 1. It would instantly add a £2million-a-year cost to Cristiano Ronaldo's contract at the Bernabeu.
The Portugal star signed an estimated £200,000 a week after-tax deal following his world record £80m summer move from Manchester United to Real Madrid.
The LFP have expressed 'great concern' and refuse to rule out 'halting the competition'.
Their president Jose Luis Astiazaran said: 'This could bring very negative consequences. It would prevent La Liga from being the best of the world and would have negative impact on other aspects, such as the amount of people in stadiums and it would make our product less attractive to television.
'We have calculated that this reform would add 100m euros to the bill for Spanish football.'
Experts have continually pointed to the Beckham law as giving La Liga a competitive advantage.
Most foreigners in Spain negotiate after-tax salaries to protect against fluctuating levels, so the clubs rather than the employees would pick up the tab.
Atletico Madrid star Sergio Aguero's camp stunned Chelsea and Manchester United in the summer by demanding a salary that, after various taxes and fees, would cost an English club about £200,000 a week.
In Spain the cost would be closer to £160,000 a week for the club - £2m a year less.
A change in the law would put Spain's tax rate above England's 40 per cent level for high earners, though a jump to 50 per cent in April is already concerning Premier League clubs, with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and star player Andrey Arshavin particular critics.
Arshavin is believed to have negotiated a gross deal of £80,000 a week with Arsenal, with some even suggesting that the increased tax bill in England meant he was taking a pay cut from his deal at Zenit St Petersburg.
He would see his take-home pay reduced by thousands each week when the 50 per cent level is brought in.
Italy (43 per cent), Germany (45 per cent), France (40 per cent), and Holland (30 per cent) would all have levels below England, while many emerging European economies have much lower flat rates of tax. source
so, what do you think? are they right to go on strike or should they just accept it? imo, even if the tax law is changed, i doubt its going to effect the appeal of La Liga that much, considering the tax will still be lower than in England come April when they increase it 50%
Lyon coach Claude Puel has assured Liverpool his side will go to Fiorentina looking for a win in two weeks' time.
Liverpool can still qualify from Champions League Group E if they win their remaining two games - but only if Lyon, who are already through to the knockout stages after Wednesday's 1-1 with the Reds, avoid defeat in Florence.
Even then it could come down to which team has the best head-to-head record.
But Puel said: "We will play fair. We want to win the group and avoid getting a tougher draw in the next stage.
"Liverpool have no need to fear what may happen. We will play to win the game and that will leave the situation in Liverpool's hands to win their last two games and go through themselves."