Real Madrid has won its appeal against a European Commission competition penalty. Pictured: Real Madrid fans wave the team’s white flag during a Uefa Champions League match in 2015. Photo: Shutterstock.com
The EU’s second highest court has reversed a European Commission state aid decision against Real Madrid.
The Spanish football club bought land from municipal authorities in 1998 for €595,000. However, in 2011, after legal problems, the club returned the property, receiving €22.7m in compensation from Madrid City Council.
A 2016 study for the European Commission said the land was overvalued by €18.4m in this second transaction, amounting to illegal state aid to the club that needed be recovered. Real Madrid appealed this decision to the EU General Court, in Kirchberg.
On 22 May, the EU judges said the commission errored by evaluating the value of only one of the three plots involved in the wider property deal. According to the judgment:
“… the Commission did not take into consideration all the aspects of the transaction at issue and its context. Contrary to what it was required to do, it thus could not have carried out a complete analysis of all the relevant factors, for the purposes of establishing not only the valuation of the amount of aid, but also, above all, whether there was in fact an advantage resulting from the measure at issue, considered in the light of all the relevant factors.”
The ruling concluded that:
“The Commission therefore has not proven to the requisite standard that the measure at issue conferred an advantage on the applicant.”