By Declan Taylor
Arsène Wenger believes UK tax laws will put an end to the Premier League’s “great days”.
In Britain, anyone earning over £150,000 per year is taxed 50 per cent, much higher than many other European countries.
With most - if not all - Premier League footballers well within this bracket, the law could make playing in English football a less-appealing option.
The issue cropped up at Wenger’s pre-match press conference, and the manager pulled no punches in his response.
“My view is quite simple,” he said. “The great days of the Premier League will disappear because of pound and tax problems.
“It’s simple, let’s say a man who earned £1million per year [takes home] £600,000 per year. But with 50 per cent tax, if you want to keep him at the level of £600,000, you have to increase his wage by 20 per cent. Not every club can afford that.
“On top of that, players who go abroad have tax advantages that we don’t have here. In Spain they pay their first five years only 25 per cent, that means it’s a lost battle.”
So have any of Wenger’s transfer moves been affected by the Premier League’s apparent disadvantage in attracting the world’s finest players?
“No,” he confirmed. “but it is a disadvantage.
“In France they have made tax rules easier to attract foreign players and they managed to do it now. But here it is not up to me to assess that or judge that but basically it is a disadvantage to the Premier League.
“We are privileged people and we cannot complain about that. If we have to share for the need of the country we have to accept that, but compared to other countries it is a disadvantage.”Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 28 Aug 2009