Top football clubs will lose millions under new tax changes

Top football clubs will lose millions under new tax changes
Photo from Club Bruges Twitter

Top football clubs stand to lose millions under the new tax policy introduced by the Belgian Government this year.

At present, sports clubs have been allowed to spend three quarters of their tax rebate freely and only one quarter had to go towards youth training, according to Nieuwsblad.

In practice, the bulk of that tax rebate was used to pay the salaries of younger top players.

But according to a preliminary draft of regulations, this will change next year with the implementation of much stricter measures in line with European rules on state aid that set a maximum of €4 million from tax rebates to be spent on wages.

Translation: The Federal Government has agreed that, in addition to the NSSO reform, an additional (max.) €10 million will be spent on tax reform. The absolute condition is impact analysis on sport. We want to make the system fair, not kill sport.

Top teams are especially affected by the regulation. Club Brugge, with a wage budget of €30 million, only pays €3 million in taxes and receives a €12 million discount at present. But next year, they’ll have to pay €8 million more in taxes and their discount will drop to €4 million.

There will also be stricter rules on how that tax rebate is to be spent. Up to €2 million will now go towards youth training and another €2 million towards investments in the stadium.

The definition of what constitutes youth training will also be much more specific, meaning the funds cannot be put towards the wages of starting players, no matter their age.

The reforms come in addition to changes announced already in social security contributions, with which the government wants to recover €30 million through top-tier sports.

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