France - a tax haven for Euro 2016 and other top sports events

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To support France's ultimately successful bid to host the Euro 2016 football tournament, ministers back in 2010 promised that the event's governing body UEFA would be exempt from all taxes on its profits. The current government decided to honour that pledge and enshrine it in budget legislation. But though the proposal met with opposition from many MPs in the National Assembly ministers then went even further and extended the exemption to other sports too. The result, reports Dan Israel, is that France has just become a tax haven for international sporting competitions.

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French MPs last week backed a law exempting European football's governing body UEFA from paying tax in France on any profits it makes organising the Euro 2016 tournament here. Though many parliamentarians had misgivings, the measure had been promised by budget ministers under former president Nicolas Sarkozy, and President François Hollande's socialist administration argued it could not go renege on its word. Indeed, the current government has gone even further and widened the scope of the tax break to include any body running international sporting events in the country. In effect this is a blank cheque for major sports competitions staged in France at a time of fiscal belt-tightening for everyone else.