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Spanish government and football league reach debt deal

Cardenal has stated that the plans will be presented on Wednesday with a target date of 2020 to clear up Spanish football's debt problems.

"It is not possible to say all the professional teams have outstanding debts with the tax authorities," said Cardenal, according to Reuters. "Those that do, for the most part, have their debts sorted out into payment plans with conditions, just like any other Spanish business might do.

"Over the last few weeks the (government) and the LFP have had meetings and they have reached their conclusion. We hope (the plan) will put a brake on the growth of this debt and that it will disappear in a few years. Probably by 2020 this problem will have been effectively resolved."

The Spanish government is currently engaged in a major austerity drive and is keen to ensure Spanish football erases its debts and develops a system to ensure they are never generated again.

The opening of the current La Liga season was also marred by a player strike over unpaid wages, while the campaign began with Racing Santander, Real Mallorca, Real Zaragoza, Real Betis, Rayo Vallecano and Granada all in administration.

A study published this month by Jose Maria Gay, professor of accounting at the University of Barcelona, showed the 20 clubs in La Liga had combined debts of some Eur3.53 billion at the end of last season, up from Eur3.43 billion a year earlier. With Segunda Division clubs owing a further Eur550 million, Spanish football is currently more than Eur4 billion in debt.

Indeed the report indicates that both Barcelona and Real have debts of close to Eur600 million, while Atletico de Madrid owes more than Eur500 million and Valencia almost Eur400 million.

Cardenal added: "This wasn't a negotiation, because there was absolutely no resistance on the part of the LFP and they want to correct the situation as well. The league isn't happy with this situation because it affects the fairness of the competition and their reputation and image."

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Dave Williams

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