Spanish league says govt tax hike may scare away top players

MADRID (AP) — The Spanish league has warned clubs that tax increases for the rich proposed by the government could scare away soccer’s top talents.

The Associated Press has seen a letter Liga president Javier Tebas sent to clubs saying the suggested tax reform would “negatively impact the competitiveness of our league.”

Tebas says the proposed hikes for wealthy individuals and businesses would cost clubs 80 million euros (91.7 million dollars) and “mean a loss of 20 elite players from our league.”

Once a country with favorable taxes for footballers, Spain has rolled back those privileges and cracked down on stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for not paying their fair share.

Spain’s Socialists rule in minority and agreed to the tax reforms with the anti-austerity Podemos Party last week. The reforms depend on the government passing a new budget, a task that will require cobbling together the support of several small parties in Parliament.