Published: Tue, 17 December 2013
Sean Kelly MEP welcomes moves to investigate possible illegal state aid to Primera Liga clubs
Sean Kelly MEP today welcomed moves by EU Competition Chief Joaquin Almunia to investigate possible breaches of state aid rules to some of Spain’s largest clubs, including Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. The move follows criticism by new European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly on delays in the investigation.
“We have to ensure fair play at all levels of sport. As an MEP, I have been focused on the new sports policy at EU level, which has fair play as a top priority.
“There have been allegations for years that clubs in Spain receive privileged tax status due to their structure as a membership association, which confers benefits in relation to corporation tax, capital gains tax and income tax.
“A complaint was raised with the Commission in 2010 by a private individual, and to date this complaint has not been fully progressed, hence the intervention by Ombudsman O’Reilly,” explained MEP Kelly.
“Note that this only applies to a limited number of clubs within Spain, so there may be an unfair advantage conferred to these clubs vis-a-vis their domestic competitors, as well as at European level.
“Fans in Ireland of Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and even my own favourite club, Newcastle United, will be watching this closely in the coming months, as it may have implications on the financial fire power of Spain’s Big Two,” he said.
“I welcome the fact that Commissioner Almunia is now investigating the matter and working together with Ombudsman O’Reilly and key MEPs who work in the field of EU Sports policy, we can find a solution where Fair Play is the winner,” he concluded.