Thunderbolt for the future of Serie A!


By: Manu Tournoux

“Bullshit is like taxes, you always end up paying them”, proclaimed Michel Audiard. Although subject to specific rules, football professionals must also comply with tax obligations. Recently, French Football Weekly had, as such, returned to impatriation, an advantageous and oh-so-valuable regime for clubs at the time of negotiations on the transfer market. In France, for example, this system allows a tax reduction of 30% on one’s net remuneration, provided that one has not been a tax resident in France during the five calendar years preceding the signing of the contract. A major argument to convince certain profiles to join France. A big boost also introduced in other European countries, starting with Italy. Since 2019, Serie A, through the decreto crescita (growth decree), has been able to attract the best players in the football world by offering – in addition to strictly sporting reasons – significant tax reductions to foreign players. A golden period almost over.

Thus, the transalpine press, starting with Sky Sport Italia, affirms this Friday that the Italian government will not extend the “Decreto Crescita” and that it will therefore expire on December 31. A measure which should profoundly disrupt the future strategy of Serie A clubs. And for good reason. If until now these tax reductions made it possible to attract foreign stars (Ibrahimovic, Lukaku, Pogba, Di Maria, Mourinho, etc.) or Italians who have resided abroad (Conte) for at least 2 years in Italy, this government decision completely reshuffles the cards. Note that if the end of the decree officially comes into force on January 1, 2024, the retroactive nature of the decision allows signatures made since July 1, 2023 to be taken into account. From then on, Christian Pulisic and Loftus-Cheek at the AC Milan, Benjamin Pavard and Marcus Thuram at Inter or Houssem Aouar and Evan Ndicka at AS Roma, all signed after July 1, are already subject to the new tax regime.

The government is signaling the end of the tax haven!

More than this tax change, this new course should also lead Italian clubs to review their development strategy and place more trust in the youth training process. La Gazzetta dello Sport specifies, moreover, that only 50 people are subject to this regime out of the 653 players and 1,083 professional contracts in Serie A. However, this still constitutes a shortfall for the Italian government of around 150 million euros in taxes. Asked about this, Giorgio Furlani, the CEO of AC Milan, for his part saw it as a worrying setback for the future of transalpine football. “The Decreto Crescita is the only law that has helped us in Italy. Getting rid of it is madness. Football is not a toy, it is an industry which attracts foreign capital and from which the country derives a significant return. Thanks to the Decreto Crescita, we can attract talents who have had success in Europe. This allowed us to maintain the same level of TV rights and attracted infrastructure investment from foreign capital.railed the Milanese leader.

And to add: “some critics said that this harmed the development of Italian youth, as clubs preferred to sign a foreign player rather than an Italian player because it was cheaper. In May 2022, the Decreto Crescita was amended with regard to Italian football to the extent that it only applied to players aged at least 20 years old and with a minimum gross salary of €1M. Without this, although you might see more Italian players at clubs instead of the average foreign player bought simply for economic reasons, you probably won’t see big name players from other leagues joining Serie A anymore, because the clubs simply can no longer afford it”. An alarming speech summarizing, in itself, the scope of such a decision…

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