Spanish clubs ordered to pay back ‘aid’ – European Commission

By iSportconnect | July 5, 2016

Following three separate in-depth investigations, the European Commission has concluded that public support measures granted by Spain to seven professional football clubs gave those clubs an unfair advantage over other clubs in breach of EU State aid rules.

As a result, Spain has to recover the illegal State aid amounts from the seven clubs, namely FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, Athletic Bilbao, Atlético Osasuna, Elche and Hercules.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, commented: “Using tax payers’ money to finance professional football clubs can create unfair competition. Professional football is a commercial activity with significant money involved and public money must comply with fair competition rules. The subsidies we investigated in these cases did not.”

Real Madrid have released a statement since the findings announcing that they intend to appeal any penalties they may face while Barcelona have released a statement saying, “The club has at all times complied with the provisions of Spanish legislation through its Law on Sport, adopted on 15 October 1990. Since January of 2016, FC Barcelona is taxed according to the reformed corporate tax code and no longer has any difference in taxation with respect to other Spanish clubs.The club will defend the interests of its members against abusive interpretations of the law.”