FIFA threatens to leave Paris over ‘unattractive’ taxation scheme

FIFA have announced that they could leave Paris where they hold an office due to the threat of French taxation. The football governing body alongside the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) has threatened to leave the French capital because they no longer believe it is financially viable for them to remain under French taxation laws. 

In a joint statement, Xavier Malenfer, the director of institutional and international relations at the FIA explained, “Although France is the cradle of motorsport and international competition, labour costs and the globalisation of the sport are weakening this position. Without the recognition of a specific status for international sports federations, there is little hope of seeing the activities of the FIA develop further, despite all the incontestable assets of Paris.”

According to L’Équipe, in 2023, the French government attempted to pass into next year’s budget a law that would contain tax provisions intended to attract international sports federations to France, with the aim of attracting FIFA back into the city where it was first created in 1904. 

France aimed for a return of FIFA back to its birthplace

Since 2021, FIFA has held an office in the French capital, with it being largely seen as the first step in the organisation moving its headquarters away from Zurich, Switzerland and back into Paris. However, this took a hit when the Constitutional Council pushed back on the government’s tax scheme, believing that it was not an equitable system and called into question the rights of these federations. 

As L’Équipe notes, on Tuesday evening, the two federations alongside IFAF (International Federation of American Football) detailed their position at a conference for international federations: “The major obstacle for French attractiveness: the absence of their own legal status for international federations. Under French law, they have the status of associations, and cannot be considered either as international organisations or as companies. Which has real consequences on their activities, their taxation, and ultimately, on their interest in being in France.” 

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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