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​EU tell seven teams to repay Spanish government aid

The European Commission has ruled that seven teams in Spain - including Real Madrid and Barcelona - must pay back millions of euros handed out in state aid and/or favourable tax rates by local governments, reports Sky Sports.

The Commission claimed the cash received for a variety of reasons, ranging from re-valuation of land to privileges in corporate taxation, gave the clubs concerned an unfair advantage over other teams in breach of EU state aid rules.

As a result, Spain must now recover the illegal state aid amounts from Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Osasuna, Elche and Hercules.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "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."

EU state aid rules apply to public interventions in the market to ensure they do not distort competition by selectively favouring one market participant over another. Professional sport is an economic activity.
Ian Ferris
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Ian Ferris

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