By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, March 27, 2012
People in Morocco still vividly remember the controversy stirred recently by the exorbitant salary paid to Morocco’s national soccer coach, Mr. Eric Gerets. Subsequent to the humiliating disqualification of the Moroccan football team in the first round of the African National Football Cup, fans voiced their disgruntlement and called on the Moroccan Football Federation to dismiss the inept coach. To their dismay, the fans’ calls fell on deaf ears.
To add insult to injury, many news reports revealed that Eric Gerets’ salary is tax free. This comes against the backdrop of the outcry sparked recently by the decision of the Moroccan government to impose taxes on the meager earnings of the Moroccan league soccer players.
Voicing the concerns and frustration of Moroccan fans, during a parliamentary session, the PJD MP Abdellatif Brouhou, requested clear explanation from the Minister of Economy, Nizar Barka, and the Budget Minister, Idriss Al Azami, about the reason behind exempting Gerets from paying taxes. He also emphasized that while small employees and public servants pay taxes, the Belgian coach enjoys fiscal privileges.
Brouhous denounced this tax evasion and urged the government to hold the junta that backs this sort of “corruption” accountable. The same message was conveyed by MP Mustapha Hanin from the Independence party who even called for holding Magherbi Bank fully responsible for not exacting legal taxes from Gerets’ income.
Hanine urged the government to issue a fiscal punishment in case the taxes aren’t exacted from Gerets’ income, bearing in mind that the law is crystal clear about tax evasion. He also urged the government to make public all the reasons looming behind such act, including all the privileges granted to the national coach.
Moreover, many MPs in the committee are calling on the government to recover the whole amount of due taxes from Gerets’ income. They argue that even if the contract signed with Gerets stipulated secrecy about his income, the amount of tax deductions would be a harbinger about his monthly salary.
Editing by Loubna Flah and Ahmad Azizi