Real Madrid €18.4m state aid payment would be welcomed by authorities
Madrid's City Hall says it would welcome Real Madrid paying the €18.4 million which the European Commission has ordered is owed due to illegal state aid to the club.
The European Commission has instructed Real to reimburse the local city authority with the fee after ruling that the club had benefitted from a public subsidy in the form of cheap land by their Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
Real have rejected the ruling completely, saying they plan to appeal, while also blaming a Barcelona-based architect firm for providing a misleading valuation to the European authorities.
MEP Santiago Fisas of the conservative Partido Popular party, which controlled the Spanish capital when the deals were done, has suggested that La Liga clubs are being targeted unfairly by EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, and that different types of state aid to clubs is not uncommon elsewhere in Europe.
However Rita Maestre, spokesperson for the current left-wing Ahora Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena, is quoted by AS as telling Europa Press that the €18.4m fee would be useful as it could be used to provide extra services for all the city's inhabitants.
"It is not the town hall but all madrilenos who are receiving this extra of almost €19m, which will mean a boost to the budget we can spend on investments and social spending," Maestre said.
The same European Commission judgement also found that Barcelona and five other La Liga clubs must repay money to the Spanish government over various instances of the state providing aid to them.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan