MADRID: The Spanish government has thrown its support behind an austerity plan for the country’s football clubs targeting a E1bn reduction of their collective debts by 2016.

The plan, first outlined in January after an agreement between the Professional Football League and the Secretary for Sport Miguel Cardenal, has now received the official backing of the government

The 42 clubs in Spain’s top two divisions, which have accumulated debts of about E4bn, have been told to cut E100m from their wage bills next season, and they could be ordered to sell players if they are not deemed to be tackling their financial problems.

Cardenal said: “Football is very important for the international image of our country. We are a reference point and envy of the world but domestic soccer has not been exemplary in the way it has been run. It was in an absurd situation and it is positive that those involved know that they have a problem that must be fixed.”

The combined debt of the 20 clubs in the Primera División has quadrupled since 1999-2000, according to a government report.

Cardenal added: “We have turned into an exporting nation. It’s a historic change and Spanish soccer must recognise it has taken place. We have to project the conviction that soccer is as serious a business sector as any other.

“Any doubts about legal security must be removed to help attract foreign investment and generate employment.”



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Friday, June 28, 2013

Spanish government backs football austerity plan

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