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SBD Global/August 8, 2013/International Football
European Commission Could Soon Force Real Madrid, Barcelona, Others To Become PLCs
Published August 8, 2013
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'UNFAIR EDGE': In a separate piece, Wallace reported "as well as being treated as not-for-profit organisations, the four exempted clubs benefit under corporation and property tax laws." They are also permitted to have "affiliate professional basketball clubs which operate out of the same structure, an important factor in a country where basketball is the second sport." The Spanish economy is "in meltdown," with unemployment at 26% and youth unemployment at 50%. Yet "none of this" affected the spending power of Real Madrid, "and to a lesser extent Barcelona." Estimated by Deloitte to be the first, and only football club with an annual revenue in excess of €500M ($666M), Madrid is recognized as "the most valuable club in the world." The total debt of clubs in the league is "estimated at €4.1B ($5.5B)." It is "evident that whatever the extent of the privileges lavished on Madrid, Barcelona and the two other exemptions, the plc status -- or 'Sociedades Anonimas Deportivas' [SAD] is not working for the rest" (INDEPENDENT, 8/6).
PREMILINARY PHASE: The EFE reported "sources explained that the case has not been made public because the investigation is in the 'preliminary phase.'" The investigation, which is led by EC member Joaquín Almunia, began in '09 "following complaints about the advantages the clubs receive" from not being PLCs. Those who made the complaints met in Dec. '11 at the Defensor del Pueblo "Report to Parliament" to protest "the slow management of the case and the lack of conclusions." In response, the Report to Parliament wrote to the EC to propose a fast, agreeable solution. A Report to Parliament spokesperson said that "it had asked the EC to arrive at a conclusion or explain the reasons why it cannot." The Report to Parliament office "is waiting for the EC's official response" (EFE, 8/7).