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EU: Spanish Soccer Clubs ordered to pay back illegal tax breaks

 |  July 4, 2016

Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and five other Spanish soccer clubs will have to return tens of millions of euros to Spain’s government after benefiting from illegal tax breaks, the European Union’s antitrust regulator said Monday.

The European Commission said the tax breaks, property deals and loans and bank guarantees granted by the Spanish government gave those clubs an unfair advantage over their competitors.

“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,” said EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager.

Real Madrid and Osasuna declined to comment. An FC Barcelona spokesman declined to immediately comment, but said the club would hold a press conference Monday afternoon about the matter. A spokesman for Spain’s budget ministry said authorities were beginning a “detailed analysis” of the decision and declined further comment.

The Valencia football club said it would analyze the ruling once it had received it from the commission, adding that it might choose to appeal the EU’s decision.

Full Content: The Wall Street Journal

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