MADRID: A Spanish court has halted Real Madrid’s proposed construction work at its Santiago Bernabeu stadium due to an ongoing investigation into allegations that European champions benefited unfairly from state support.
The court has temporarily blocked permission granted by the Madrid city authority to allow Real to “build buildings around the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium” after a petition from the environmental group Ecologistas en Accion.
In December, the European Commission opened a three-pronged investigation into allegations that several Liga clubs, including Real and bitter rival Barcelona, were given disproportionate support from the state.
Real, Barcelona and fellow top-tier clubs Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna were alleged by a representative of “several European clubs” of having benefited from unfair tax advantages. The commission said that it would also probe Real’s sale of its training ground to the City of Madrid for a considerable profit.
In January, Real president Florentino Perez unveiled plans to redevelop the Bernabeu. The proposed facelift included a retractable roof, hotel, shopping complex and leisure centre next to the stadium.
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