While FIFA’s HQ is not in Paris, the French Constitutional Council has decided against granting the organization tax exemption. It has led to speculation about the future of FIFA’s office in Paris.

The goal of French President Emmanuel Macron was to maintain the tax concession. He reportedly wanted to bring some of the organization back to Paris—the origin of the global governing body.

Established in 1958, the French Constitutional Council is empowered to assess the legality of French legislation. It ruled that French-founded federations violated the notion of equality before the law because of the tax advantages they received. As a result, these international organizations have long used Switzerland as their tax and legal basis.

Originating in France on May 21, 1904, FIFA is now presided over by Gianni Infantino. A specific system in Zurich allows the organization to pay little more than 12 percent in taxes. Reports are that FIFA supposedly pays over $22 million in taxes.

FIFA employees to pay taxes in France

The revelation broke when the French newspaper Le Monde reported that, beginning in February 2022, FIFA’s Paris activities will be exempt from corporation taxes and social security obligations. The French capital was the site of what the international federation deemed as “non-commercial and non-profit-making” events.

Employees of FIFA will now be required to pay French social security payments. It will significantly increase the cost of FIFA’s Paris operations, according to the latest verdict.

Legislators failed to employ reasonable and objective standards to evaluate the legislation’s merit, according to the Council, which is why the bill is flawed. It was also acknowledged by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This alone was enough to constitute a contradiction. It also gives rise to legal inequalities that were without any logical or legal foundation.

The Council found that Article 31 of the challenged statute violated the principle of equality before the law. Thus, it was deemed necessary to condemn the provision.

After more than 90 years, it seems that FIFA’s plan to return to its Parisian roots has been foiled, as was previously public knowledge. Returning to its original location might still be possible. However, FIFA is required to behave like any other legal organization. As a result, they shouldn’t constantly seek regulations that favor it over others.

Lifelong dream of FIFA’s HQ moving to Paris is now broken

By 2018, Macron and FIFA President Gianni Infantino had worked out a way to bring certain aspects of the global organization back to its origins. After establishing its headquarters in Paris in 1904, FIFA relocated to Zurich in 1932.

They formally inaugurated the Hotel de la Marine, which would become FIFA’s Parisian headquarters of operations, three years later. The nation that will be hosting the 2022 World Cup, Qatar, contributed $142 million for the renovations that took place over four years.

By relocating to Paris, Infantino was able to implement his vision for a truly global FIFA. However, with a focus on forging closer links with the several member organizations in Africa.

Decentralization within FIFA was hastened by the first incentives provided by the French government. Reportedly, Infantino feels uncomfortable at home while being investigated for criminal charges in Switzerland.

Doha, Qatar is his present home, although FIFA has made it clear that he pays taxes in Switzerland.

Photo: Imago