x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Spanish clubs are responsible for 'diabolical' accounts in Primera Liga

The inability of many Spanish clubs to balance their costs has led to the problem.

Rayo Vallecano are among those who have failed to conduct responsibly on the financial front. Dani Pozo / AFP
Rayo Vallecano are among those who have failed to conduct responsibly on the financial front. Dani Pozo / AFP

Barcelona and Real Madrid's European exploits will dominate the headlines, but they mask the true state of Spanish football, a sordid underbelly caused by rampant overspending.

Since the Bankruptcy Law was introduced in 2004, 19 of the 42 clubs in Spain's top two divisions have gone into receivership. That number would be even higher if it included the clubs who have been relegated out of the top two divisions.

Clubs owe the tax agency €690 million (Dh3.3 billion), despite receiving preferential treatment from the government.

Pressure is mounting as government liquidators have been appointed. They have uncovered numerous illegal payments and lax accounting. Racing Santander made a payment of nearly €1m to a soccer school in Brazil which does not exist.

At Betis, investigators unearthed cash commissions which worked their way back to directors.

Rayo Vallecano are another who have been forced to clean up their act. They had a priest on commissions if they won matches. And debts of €60m.

The inability of many Spanish clubs to balance their costs has led to the problem.

"It has turned into a diabolical, impossible business," said Deportivo La Coruna's receiver. "Everybody buys expensive players to win, but by definition only four or five can achieve this."

Under pressure from national and European authorities, Spanish football is being forced to see sense.

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