Raul backs tax hike for foreigners

MADRID - Real Madrid captain Raul has backed a planned government tax hike for top-earning foreigners that has prompted a threat of strike action by Spain's professional football league (LFP).

The measure, which needs parliamentary approval and will take effect at the beginning of next year, will raise taxes for foreigners who earn above 600,000 euros a year to 43 percent from 24 percent.

"I think that we all should be playing by the same rules," striker Raul said at a news conference on Thursday. "Let's see if (the tax change) is approved."

The LFP have called a meeting for Friday to discuss their response to the change in the so-called "Beckham Law," named after the England midfielder and former Real player.

The law was approved in 2002 to make hiring foreign high-earners easier and Spain more attractive to the specially qualified or skilled.

The proposed new rules have split Spanish football, with some clubs, coaches and players and the LFP condemning them and others saying everyone should be treated equally.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta on Wednesday said the government's move would damage Spanish football and make foreign players think twice before coming to la Liga.

The new rules will not affect players already in Spain such as Real's Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka or Barcelona's Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lionel Messi.