FC Barcelona Loses Final Round Against EU Over Spanish Aid

FC Barcelona lost the final round of a fight with the European Union over allegedly unfair tax breaks for top Spanish soccer teams.

The EU’s Court of Justice on Thursday upheld an order by the European Commission classifying the tax arrangements of four professional Spanish clubs, including Real Madrid C.F., as illegal state aid.

The ruling also affects Athletic Club Bilbao and Club Atletico Osasuna. The special tax regime was granted to the four clubs because of their status as sport associations directly owned by their members, while the other teams are classified as public limited sports companies.

A spokesperson for Barcelona declined to comment. Nobody at the other clubs was immediately available to comment.

The decision comes three days before Barcelona, which has been run by a caretaker since late last year, holds elections to choose a new president. The world’s highest grossing team is struggling with one of sport’s biggest debt piles.

The ruling overturns a previous decision by the lower EU court in 2019. The court at the time found that EU officials had “not shown to the requisite legal standard that the measure at issue conferred an advantage on its beneficiaries.”

The case is: C-362/19 P, Commission v. Futbol Club Barcelona

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