Italy scraps plans to extend tax breaks for clubs' foreign signings

Italy scraps plans to extend tax breaks for teams’ foreign signings

MILAN : Italy’s government late on Thursday dropped a draft plan that would have extended until the end of February tax breaks of up to 50 per cent on the wages of sport clubs’ new signings from abroad, drawing criticism from the country’s top soccer league.

The measure, which is now set to expire on Dec. 31, has been in place since early 2020 and was especially tailored to Italy’s Serie A top-flight soccer league.

Its phasing out means Italian clubs will not be able to count on the tax breaks for foreign signings they make during the coming January transfer window.

Serie A, which had pushed for an extension of the benefit, said the government’s decision would be counterproductive.

“Failing to extend (the measure) … will in fact make the teams less competitive, resulting in a drop in revenues, fewer resources to be allocated to young players’ academies, reduced industry volumes and therefore less revenue for the (country’s) inland revenue,” it said in a statement.

Players’ salaries are the most important cost in the balance sheets of Serie A clubs, and backers of the incentives said they helped Italian teams draw top foreign talent and compete with richer peers like England’s Premier League.

Lazio chair Claudio Lotito, who is also a senator for the co-ruling Forza Italia party, lobbied for the tax breaks to be kept, but was rebuffed by government coalition partners, including the League.

“Discounts to foreign footballers earning millions are immoral, clubs should invest in young Italian players and not overpay foreigners who are also often bad (players),” League lawmaker Luca Toccalini said in a statement.

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