This is the
first part of a blog series involving the Real
Madrid State aid case.
Apart from being
favoured by many of
Spain’s most important politicians, there have always been suspicions
surrounding the world’s richest football club regarding possible financial aid by the Madrid City Council. Indeed, in
the late 90’s a terrain qualification change by the Madrid City Council proved to
be tremendously favourable to the king’s club. The change allowed Real Madrid
to sell its old training grounds for a huge sum. Though the exact price for the
grounds remains unknown, Real Madrid was suddenly capable of buying players
like Figo and Zidane for record fees. However, the European Commission, even
though agreeing that an advantage was conferred to the club, simply stated that the new
qualification of the terrain in question does not appear to involve any
transfer of resources by the State and could therefore not be regarded as State
aid within the meaning of article 107 TFEU.
between the club and the Council have been a regularity for the last 25
years. A more recent example concerns an
agreement signed on 29 July 2011 (Convenio29-07-2011.pdf (8MB).
After a decade of financial misery,
it appears that Valencia CF’s problems are finally over. The foreign takeover by
Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim will be concluded in the upcoming weeks, and
the construction on the new stadium will resume after five years on hold due to
a lack of money. On 3 June Bankia, the Spanish bank that “saved” Valencia CF in
2009 by providing a loan of €81 million, gave the green light for the takeover. However, appearances can be
Yesterday, the press revealed
that the European Commission decided to reject the complaint filed by
Jean-Louis Dupont, the former lawyer of Bosman, on behalf of a player agent
Striani, against the UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) Regulations. The rejection
as such is not a surprise. The Commission had repeatedly expressed support of
the principles underlying the UEFA FFP. While these statements
were drafted vaguely and with enough heavy caveats to protect the Commission
from prejudicing a proper legal assessment, the withdrawal of its support would
have been politically embarrassing.
Contrary to what is now widely assumed, this decision
does not entail that UEFA FFP regulations are compatible with EU Competition
Law. UEFA is clearly the big victor, but the legal reality is more complicated
as it looks. More...