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La Liga tax offenders kick off late payments

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La Liga tax offenders kick off late payments
Financial doping: Atlético de Madrid still owe the Spanish public purse €180 million. Photo: Dani Pozo
15:16 CET+01:00
Football may have been a ray of hope for crisis-ridden Spain over the past five years, but Spanish teams are only now starting to pay back the €752.3 million they owe the taxpayer.

"The debts of Spanish clubs to the tax authorities stood at €752.3 million at the start of 2012. They now stand at €690 million, which represents a drop of around eight percent," a spokesman for the Madrid treasury said on Tuesday.

Of the total, €535 million euros concern first division clubs.

Atlético de Madrid  and Deportivo de la Coruña are the worst offenders, owing the Spanish public purse €180 million and €150 million respectively.

The €50 million Atlético got from the sale of Sergio Agüero to Manchester City two years ago went straight to the tax authorities.

Real Madrid, Athletic de Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Getafe owe nothing to the taxman, but Catalan giants Barcelona still need to pay off €50 million in public debt.

The Spanish government last April came up with a plan — to which la Liga has signed up — to reduce the debt pile, including the proposal to set aside from the 2014-15 season of a third of clubs' television revenues to pay off more cash owed to the state.

The finance ministry says that the plan is now "bearing fruit" while adding that the state will do all it can using everything in its power to bring the debt pile under control.

"The overriding objective of the government is that this debt should not rise still further," a statement said.

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