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Tax advantages amount for several billion Euros

The European Ombudsman urges to open an infringement procedure against Spanish football clubs

On Monday, 16 December 2013, the European Ombudsman Emily O´Reilly, told the European Commission to stop delaying a decision on whether to open infringement proceedings against Spain concerning alleged unfair tax advantages for certain Spanish football clubs.

This follows a complaint from investors in other European football clubs alleging that the Commission´s inaction in this case might be linked to the fact that the Commissioner responsible supports one of the football teams in question and was a Minister in the Spanish government that decided on the tax advantages at the time.

After having received the Ombudsman´s recommendation on 16 December 2013, the Head of the Commissioner´s Cabinet contacted the Ombudsman´s office to announce that the decision to open a formal investigation against Spain in this case will be on the agenda of the College of Commissioners on 18 December 2013.

The tax advantages amount to several billion Euro

The complainant represents investors in several European football clubs. In 2009, he complained to the Commission that Spain is infringing EU State Aid Rules by granting unfair tax advantages to four Spanish football clubs. According to the complainant, these advantages amount to several billion Euro. He also noted that Spain is granting these tax advantages even as it requests hundreds of billions of Euro from Eurozone taxpayers.

The Commission normally has 12 months to decide on the opening of infringement proceedings. In this case, more than four years have passed without any decision. In September 2013, the Commission accepted the Ombudsman´s proposal for a friendly solution, but neither acted on it nor gave convincing reasons as to why no decision has been taken.

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