Something moves in the calcium. Juventus intend to cheat the promising 19-year-old midfielder Matthijs De Ligt from Ajax. A footballer who, a priori, has everything to go to the Camp Nou, including the signing of his intimate friend Frenkie De Jong, and who, however, is meditating looking for fortune in football at the antipodes of his DNA. The Turin club tries to do the same to Real Madrid with Paul Pogba, who theoretically had a special connection with coach Zinedine Zidane, in charge of seducing the great French stars. The Napoli fight today to take James Rodriguez and Inter tightens to take the services of Lukaku, star of Manchester United, after signing the center-back Diego Godín. The secret of this infatuation, however, does not inhabit the margins of the field nor in the power of seduction of the clubs.
The long shipwreck of calcium, whose main competition has won eight years in a row the same club (Juventus), has found a lifeline in the fine print of a new law. The Italian populist government, formed by the 5-Star Movement and the League, has recently approved the so-called Growth Decree, a measure to stimulate work and investment in national companies that has an impact on football increasingly away from the summit that he represented in the nineties. Beyond the concrete actions in the labor market, the new norm also provides for a tax reduction for clubs that hire foreign players. Basically, they will save half of taxes in IRPF and will have that capital to seduce the stars that until now preferred other leagues.
The advantage that this season will have Series A is important. When until now a club paid 10 million net euros to a player, for example, it actually cost about 19 million. With the new law the cost would be reduced to a figure close to 14 or 15 million. "You save 50% of taxes. So a whole series of previously impossible operations are more approachable, "says Marco Bellinazzo, author of the prophetic book The end of Italian calcium (Feltrinelli, 2018).
The tax reduction in the payment of personal income tax in Italy adds to another incentive as was the 'flat rate' of 100,000 euros for income generated outside the country. In the case of footballers it is not a trifle, because it refers to image rights and sponsorships, which usually come from foreign companies. The signing of Cristiano Ronaldo for Juventus, for example, benefited greatly from this measure as the player charges about 40 million euros in that concept.
The operation of De Ligt
The author, journalist of the economic newspaper Il Sole 24 ore, remember that "Godin or Ramsey were signed before the regulations were approved, but it will also have an impact on their chips." "The real effect has been seen with an operation like that of De Ligt, where as a starting point they had four million more than the previous year." The Dutch player, in fact, can receive a salary of 12 million (eight fixed plus four bonus). A very high amount that has allowed the Vecchia Signora to compete with millionaire clubs like PSG and with the capacity of seduction for a player like De Ligt del Barcelona. The tax savings achieved is, precisely, the basis of the salary difference compared to what Barça offers.
The norm, designed in a general scheme of lack of investment in the south of Italy, initially anticipated a greater reduction for the southern clubs. The complaints of other clubs and the heterogeneity between this type of equipment caused that section was finally deleted. The Napoli, partly for that reason, was launched at the beginning with a lot of impetus to James Rodríguez. The operation has all the signs to close, but when unifying the fiscal criterion in all Italy, the interest of the club was something reduced.
The president of the Spanish League, Javier Tebas, complained bitterly about it a few weeks ago. "In Italy they are doing things differently and that will make them more competitive. There, players pay 10 times less taxes than in Spain. " The figure is not exactly that, but you could think that the Serie A now wins with fiscal tricks what it did not win in the field. The reality, however, is that Spain also used this tool in 2005 to give one of the greatest impulses to competition.
The Beckham law, approved by the then Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, was later suppressed at the beginning of the crisis (a similar time to the five years that the measure is expected to last in Italy). The big clubs, however, recovered in that period the strength lost compared to their competitors in other major leagues and gave rise to one of the most fruitful periods of Spanish football. The world of Italian football is convinced that the new taxation will mean the end of a long twilight.
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