Taking a knee
The president of the Italian Football Players' Association (AIC), Umberto Calcagno said the previous benefit 'penalised the entire national football movement.' [File image from Euro 2020 - Quarter Final match between Belgium and Italy in Germany] Image Credit: Reuters

Rome: Italy's football players association expressed satisfaction Friday at a government decision not to extend a tax relief measure benefiting foreign players on Italian teams.

Such players had benefited from a measure - also afforded to various university educated specialised workers - that allowed only half of their gross income to be taxable for their first five years working in Italy.

"Italian and foreign footballers will be able to compete on the same level," the president of the Italian Football Players' Association (AIC), Umberto Calcagno, said Friday in a statement, a day after the government decided not to extend the relief.

The previous benefit, he said, had "penalised the entire national football movement."

"Finally, from January 1, Italian and foreign footballers will be in the same position, and I thank the government for this," Calcagno added.

Sports Minister Andrea Abodi had been in favour of extending the tax break for footballers, but several other members of the government opposed it, including Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the anti-migrant League party, Matteo Salvini, according to Italy's AGI news agency.

"Discounts to foreign footballers who earn millions are immoral, and clubs are now investing in young Italians", wrote Lucca Toccalini, a League parliamentarian, Thursday.

Ansa news agency said Italy's Serie A league expressed concern over a measure it said would have "a result diametrically opposed to the one sought: less competitiveness for the teams resulting in less income, fewer resources for young people (...) and less income for the tax authorities."