[MADRID] French soccer clubs including Olympique Lyonnais and Paris Saint-Germain together spent 90 per cent less on player transfer fees last year partly because of a "millionaire tax" rate of 75 per cent introduced by President Francois Hollande.
Transfer spending by French teams plunged to US$222 million (S$300 million) as the biggest clubs were also limited by so-called financial fair play rules in European soccer that aim to rein in debt, a report by FIFA's Transfer Matching System AG released today said.
The so-called "millionaire tax" on income of more than 1 million euros expired on Jan 1, 2015.
The measure cost Olympique Lyonnais 6.3 million euros for the year through June 2014 as it paid higher tax bills of some players, according to Lyon's president, Jean-Michel Aulas.
French taxes on players earning 600,000 euros a year are five times higher than in England, 15 times higher than in Germany and 66 times higher than in Spain, the FIFA TMS report said, citing data compiled by the French Union of Professional Clubs.
Global spending on international transfers rose by 2.1 per cent to a record US$4.06 billion in 2014. English clubs led with an outlay of US$1.17 billion as they benefited from higher television revenue than teams in other championships.