Spanish football champions Real Madrid may be in breach of European Union anti-competition rules over an alleged land deal, a spokesman for the bloc's executive said Wednesday, following a British media report.
The Independent newspaper said that the football club had allegedly agreed a favourable deal with Madrid City Council for land around the Bernabeu stadium, which is to be redeveloped with a shopping mall and hotel complex.
Land around the football stadium had increased dramatically in value as it traded hands between the city council and Real Madrid, meaning that a final decision by the city to grant the land to the club for redevelopment could constitute illegal state aid, the newspaper wrote.
The commission had received information about several football clubs across the EU, said Antoine Colombani, spokesman for the bloc's Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.
"We are looking at these allegations, including those concerning Real Madrid," Colombani said, adding however that "the commission has not yet decided whether or not to open a formal inquiry."
The land development could affect Real Madrid's ability to borrow money and its prime position in the transfer market, the Independent wrote. In the course of the development, the stadium is also due to be equipped with a roof.
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