EU orders Spanish football clubs to pay back millions in state aid

The European Union orders seven Spanish football clubs, including national champions Barcelona, to pay back millions of euros in state aid, finding that the support gave them an unfair competitive advantage over other clubs.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Osasuna benefited from tax breaks, while Valencia, Hercules and Elche were given state guarantees that allowed them to obtain loans on favourable terms, says the EU's executive, the European Commission.

It also finds that a property which should have been transferred to Real Madrid by its home city was overvalued by 18 million euros (20 million dollars). This allowed the club to receive more compensation than it should have when the land transfer did not take place.

"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," EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager says in a statement.

Last update: Mon, 04/07/2016 - 12:28

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