The FC Barcelona case: My new article on sport and State aid

I recently published an article in Sports Law and Taxation about State aid and sport. The full text is available here.


On 4 March 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) ruled that Spain has provided unlawful state aid to four professional football clubs. These clubs are: Club Atletico Osasuna, Athletic Club, Real Madrid,
and FC Barcelona. This state aid was provided through a preferential tax rate for these four clubs, and now needs to be recovered with compound interest. This combination of tax, state aid and professional football will be of particular interest to readers of this journal.

This case – which will be referred as the ‘FC Barcelona case’ – is interesting from, at least, two perspectives. Firstly, the judgement sheds light on an important general question regarding the application of the state aid rules in the field of direct taxation, namely the interpretation of the concept of an “advantage” in the context of fiscal state aid. Secondly, the judgement is relevant from the wider policy perspective of the enforcement of the state aid rules by the European Commission (“EC”) in the area of professional football In this article, both perspectives will be addressed. The intended readership consists of (non-EU) tax specialists, with little or no background in the state aid rules.


For more on football in Spain: here.

About Anna Gunn

Fiscaliste met de specialisaties EU-belastingrecht en fiscale exotica. Geruime praktijkervaring met fiscale staatssteun.

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