Thursday

24th May 2018

Real and Barca to face EU state aid probe

  • Barcelona is at the centre of an EU state aid probe

Football giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are among seven top Spanish clubs to be targeted by a state aid probe to be launched on Wednesday (18 December) by the European Commission.

Spanish foreign minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo, in Brussels Monday for a meeting, said that the commission would formally announce the probe on Wednesday (18 December).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He added that the Spanish government would oppose any sanctions against its clubs. Both the clubs and the government will have a month to respond to the charges, although the case could then take a number of months.

"The government will fight to the last to defend Spanish clubs because they are also part of the Spanish brand," he said.

Barca, Real, Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao are accused of having received special tax treatment because of their legal status as clubs owned by members rather than shareholders, Margallo said.

Real and Athletic also face investigation over agreements related to their training facility and new stadium respectively.

Meanwhile, Valencia, Elche and Hercules will be investigated because of alleged loans and bank guarantees offered to them by regional government.

For his part, Barcelona's spokesman Toni Freixa told Spanish media that "I don't understand the basis for this investigation, should it come about."

He added that Barcelona's business structure was in line with Spanish law.

Despite being one of the most popular and financially lucrative leagues in the world, the financial situation of Spain's football clubs is very precarious.

The 20 clubs in La Liga, the country's top division, have debts estimated at €3.5 billion, while 22 of the country's 42 clubs in the top two divisions have been placed in administration over the past two years.

But Spanish clubs are not the only ones to face a probe from the EU executive over state aid rules.

In March the commission opened an investigation into five Dutch clubs, including PSV Eindhoven, one of the countries biggest teams.

The EU does not have law-making powers in the sports policy field but the treaties require EU legislation to take account of the "specificity" of sport when implementing EU law.

UEFA lose legal battle on free-to-air football

EU governments have the right to ensure that international football championships are available on free-to-air television channels, according a court ruling on Thursday.

Analysis

GDPR does not (yet) give right to global oblivion

The 'right to be forgotten' will become enshrined in EU law on Friday, but it is not yet clear to what extent it will apply. Will the EU's law determine how the internet looks globally?

News in Brief

  1. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  2. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  3. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  4. UK households hit with Brexit income loss
  5. Report: EU faces 10% cut in steel exports to US
  6. Australia wants more access to EU agricultural market
  7. CV of Italian PM candidate under scrutiny
  8. Puigdemont Spain extradition rejected by German court

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. GDPR does not (yet) give right to global oblivion
  2. Privacy Shield less relevant given GDPR, says data chief
  3. Unknown academic to lead Italy into EU clash
  4. 'Killer robot' projects eligible for EU defence fund
  5. Funding for European values needs radical changes
  6. Feeble EU format deflates Zuckerberg 'hearing'
  7. Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?
  8. EU pessimistic on permanent US trade exemption