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Italian Minister Threatens to Double Tax on Soccer Players

Aug. 17 (Bloomberg) -- An Italian minister threatened to propose doubling the government’s “solidarity tax” for soccer players in the country after they criticized the surcharge included in the Cabinet’s austerity package.

“If they continue to threaten strikes or retaliation, I’ll propose that soccer players pay a double extra tax,” Roberto Calderoli, Minister for Legislative Simplification, said today in an interview with daily la Repubblica. His spokesman confirmed the comments.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Cabinet on Aug. 13 approved 45.5 billion euros ($64 billion) in deficit cuts and higher taxes. The highest earners will pay an extra 5 percent tax on income over 90,000 euros a year and 10 percent on income of more than 150,000 euros.

Players in Italy are asking their clubs to pay the tax because their contracts are based on net salaries. The players’ union already is threatening a strike if a labor agreement with the Italian Soccer Federation isn’t reached.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sonia Sirletti in Milan at ssirletti@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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