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Men's Football Proposed tax hike on rich has Spanish football boss worried

THE Spanish league bleated today that the centre-left government’s proposal to increase income tax on the rich could scare away football’s top players. 

La Liga president Javier Tebas sent a letter to clubs today saying the suggested tax reforms would “negatively impact the competitiveness of our league.”

Tebas warns that the proposed tax hike on those earning over €130,000 (£114,400) a year would cost the clubs £70.4 million and “mean a loss of 20 elite players from our league.”

Spain’s Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) came to power in June this year and formed a minority government following a vote of no-confidence in rightwinger Mariano Rajoy and his Popular Party. 

Earlier this week, the PSOE and the anti-austerity party Podemos reached a deal that will likely see the minority government through to the next general election in 2020. The tax rise formed part of the deal as well as a 22 per cent rise to the country’s minimum wage.

Over the past year the Spanish authorities have charged several of football’s biggest stars for tax fraud and other financial crimes. 

Former Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo came to an agreement with the finance ministry in July after it accused him of not paying over £13m in taxes owned between 2011-14. He paid £16.6m in unpaid taxes, fines and interest and accepted a two-year suspended jail sentence. 

Earlier this year, Manchester United striker Alexis Sanchez was given a 16-month prison sentence for evading tax during his time at Barcelona.

He was accused of defrauding the Spanish treasury of £900,000 and hiding the income he made from “image rights” between 2012 and 2013.

However, neither player served any time behind bars because first-time offenders avoid jail in Spain if the sentence is less than two years.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was found guilty last summer of defrauding the Spanish treasury of £3.6m between 2007-9.

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