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Context of 'March 3, 2004: EU Begins Investigation of Transaction that Cleared Real Madrid’s Debt'

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The Spanish football club Real Madrid sells its training ground to the city council for €480m to wipe out a €290m debt. Under the agreement, the football club will relocate to a new training complex on the outskirts of the city by 2004. The council plans to construct four huge office blocks on the site of the current training ground, as well as a new 20,000-capacity sports pavilion for the city’s 2012 Olympic bid. Real president Florentino Perez says the deal will lift a major burden that has been hanging over the club. “I have been working for this from the very day I became president,” says Perez. “This is very important for Real Madrid because we have removed a terrible burden and will soon have a new training ground which will be even better than AC Milan’s Milanello training complex. From now on we can live without anxiety or financial difficulties. Real Madrid has not only to be a sporting leader, it must also be a financial leader too.” [BreakingNews(.ie), 5/8/2001] Real will use the proceeds of the sale to buy top players such as Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Ronaldo, and David Beckham, but the transaction will be investigated by the EU (see March 3, 2004). However, Real will not be forced to repay any of the money (see (November 9, 2004)).

Entity Tags: Florentino Perez Rodriguez, Real Madrid Club de Fútbol

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The European Union announces it has begun a preliminary investigation into the sale of Real Madrid’s training ground to the city council in 2001 (see (May 8, 2001)). The sale netted €480m, which wiped out the football club’s €290m debt and enabled it to buy players such as Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Luis Figo, and David Beckham. “We believe Madrid’s regional authorities may have overpaid,” says Tilman Luder, the EU’s competition spokesman. He also warns that the club may have to pay back some money if the price exceeded the market value. “We have sent a questionnaire to the Spanish government: to find out why they bought this land, at what price, and if they can prove it was at the market price. We suspect that the purchase price was influenced by the fact that this property had been reclassified, which increased its value,” says Luder. If Spain’s response to the questionnaire is not satisfactory, the EU may launch a formal investigation. [Independent, 3/4/2010] The EU will later drop the matter (see (November 9, 2004)).

Entity Tags: Tilman Luder, Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, European Union

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

The European Union drops a competition probe into a transaction in which football club Real Madrid received hundreds of millions of Euros from the Madrid city council in return for its training ground (see (May 8, 2001) and March 3, 2004). The commission concludes that no state aid for Real was involved in the transaction and no government resources were transferred to it. [Sports Illustrated, 11/9/2004]

Entity Tags: Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, European Union

Timeline Tags: Football Business and Politics

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