Spanish club debt mountain reduced as league heads towards financial black

Miguel CardenalBy Mark Baber
May 9 - Spain's Secretary of State for Sport Miguel Cardenal (pictured) revealed Thursday that professional clubs in the county's First and Second Division have accumulated debts of €3.573 billion, according to data from the Sports Council.

Cardenal explained that 74% of the debt was owed by just eight clubs in the Primera Liga.

The good news, which Cardenal conveyed to reporters at a breakfast meeting, is that the Budget Control System agreed between the Ministry of Sport and the Professional Football League is working well meaning that the debt fell by 5% during the 2012-2013 season as the teams managed to pay off €202.1 million of the total. The debt is forecast to fall by a further €300 million by the end of this season.

The success in reducing the debt burden is due to a 2.3% fall in salary costs, an overall 15% drop in personnel costs and a small increase in attendance figures.

According to Cardenal, money owed by clubs to the Treasury has also decreased from €752 million in January 2012, to €720.2 million in June 2013 with a further fall to €595 million predicted.

According to the minister, Spanish football's financial equilibrium means it compares well with the loss-making Premier League, France and Italy whilst Spain's recent financial improvement should see it join Germany in making a year-on-year profit.

The turnaround in the fortune of Spanish clubs has led to increased interest over the past 9 months from overseas investors buying clubs, with the minister pointing to Roland Duchatelet's acquisition of Alcorcon and Singapore billionaire Peter Lim's interest in acquiring Valencia as examples.

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