Send us a message

Interested in being a part of the team? Get in touch with us today.
May 022014
Every few months or so we see these reports in the media from the financial press to prestigious news sites that have examined the muddy economic waters that surround Spanish football. They dig up the favored status that certain clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona have, the tax-breaks that they qualify for over league rivals, and the commingling of public and private money used in club projects and the implication is that they have not only a competitive imbalance in Spain, but also with the grand majority of clubs in European competitions.

It explains the complaint that the European Union has filed against Spanish football, actually a series of "complaints lodged with the European Commission by investors and supporters of several clubs from outside Spain, including Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund" and targeting at least seven clubs, but primarily member-owned clubs like Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna.

As member-owned clubs they pay at a different tax-rate than other clubs that are S.A.D's or limited sporting partnerships, but it wasn't a governmental favor that saved those clubs for its members and condemned the others to the whims of private ownership as of the passing of  the Ley 10/1990, de 15 de octubre. It was done during a similarly dark economic time and because many club's directors mismanaged funds, occurred debts and used public funds for personal gains. It was felt that private ownership would stabilize the league using the idea that if investors used their own money they would be more careful in spending and incurring debt. Twenty years on and the rules have changed but the situation hasn't; if anything, it's worse.

The number of clubs in Spain that have endured corrupt private ownership is overwhelming. The footballing landscape is littered with them: Jose Maria Caneda, the owner of SD Compostela, lined his own pockets instead of paying wages and got the club relegated not once but twice down the footballing pyramid into the wildlands of the Galician regional divisions. Their fate was mirrored by the recent history of Granada, Real Oviedo and even Real Betis under Manuel Ruiz de Lopera. Add Racing Santander with Ahsan Al-Syed the supposed Indian billionaire who used elaborate pyramid schemes to by the club and then disappeared when there was no real money in the coffers or Malaga even as it seems Middle-Eastern oil money isn't as lucrative for all clubs who entice it. Dmitry Pietrrman who ruined not one but two clubs, poor Racing who can't catch a break and Deportivo Alaves, the Ruiz-Mateos family at Rayo Vallecano, and the sordid history of the Gil family at Atletico de Madrid are just some of of the more glaring examples.

In fact, the reason why the above-mentioned (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Osasuna and Athletic) clubs retained their status as non-SAD's is that they were the few that were run responsibly enough at the time. Look, it's obvious that Real Madrid and Barcelona have favored status, and they have both profited from their cozy relationships with their regional governments (as have Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna) but revoking their charter and forcing them to sell their interests to private investment (as the European Commission has contemplated) is not the answer to making the competition fairer both domestically and in Europe. In fact it might be an even worse solution.
Enhanced by Zemanta


The Ball is Flat

The Ball is Flat is a website and podcast devoted to the Beautiful Game. Football, Futbol, Fusball or whatever you call it, it is the game that divides and unites us. The Ball is Flat's mission is to cover European football with an eye open, the heart in motion, and the brain colored with the right amount of cheerful cynicism. Read more:

 Leave a Reply



Refresh Image


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>