BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe’s second-highest court on Tuesday annulled an EU state aid decision that Spanish soccer clubs FC Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao had benefited unfairly from a lower corporate tax rate.
The Luxembourg-based General Court said the European Commission erred in assessing the facts and had not shown to the requisite legal standard that the measures under investigation had given the soccer clubs an advantage.
The Commission in its July 2016 ruling said the two soccer clubs, together with Real Madrid and Atletico Osasuna, enjoyed a 25 percent tax rate for more than 20 years, compared to the 30 percent norm for sports companies.
The EU competition enforcer ordered the four clubs each to pay back taxes up to 5 million euros ($5.7 million).
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)