Going into the 2013-14 Ligue 1 season, all the talk is centered around AS Monaco FC. With Monaco’s tax advantages causing quite the controversy, the prospective Ligue 1 powerhouse makes a strong case for players to transfer to The Principality. Dmitry Rybolovlev and his millions bring in the kind of purchasing power that Ligue 1 has only seen once, and that is with the current Paris St.-Germain organization. But was the purchase of AS Monaco FC by the Russian billionaire the right choice for future investment?
Currently, the debate regarding the Monaco purchase centers around the tax advantages that AS Monaco’s staff, players and organization will receive by being based in Monaco. With the Ligue de Football Professionnel (or LFP) stating that Monaco will have to move its operations to France by this time next year, the team continues to fight the decision in court to keep their advantageous edge in France’s top club level. The tax status has already netted the club top-notch players, both with and without Ligue 1 experience, and they will more than likely be a successful team in the French league. Paris St.-Germain has already shown that throwing tons of money into a team will bring success.
But even with that, was AS Monaco FC the right choice for Rybolovlev? When looking at the surface, most observers are only looking at the situation in a skin-deep manner. They only center on the tax debate without looking at other factors. The argument is that top-notch players will automatically consider Monaco as their top transfer destination purely because of taxes. But if we look at the case of Zlatan Ibrahimovic at PSG, even an income tax of 75% didn’t prevent the player from making the move to France’s capital. The question then needs to be asked if the tax issue has been blown out of proportion. Yes, the tax advantages are nice for players as well as foundation for building a strong club, but where is it on the list of player priorities? Are taxes the “end-all” when it comes to contract negotiations, or just a nice convenient factor?
Even with the tax debate, there are a number of other factors that any buyer of Monaco should have been worried about. It seems that the idea of having a tax-free team has led Rybolovlev to not even consider these other factors. But in the end, they might be the factors that determine if Monaco is a successful investment or not.