Brussels launches probe into state support for Dutch football clubs

The European Commission is looking into possible breaches of EU competition rules covering state support at five Dutch football clubs.

Deals involving Nijmegen club NEV, MVV of Maastricht, Willem II of Tilburg, PSV Eindhoven and FC Den Bosch are in the spotlight and subject to a ‘far-reaching investigation’, the commission said in a statement.

All five clubs have had support from their local authority in 2010 and 2011 without registering it with Brussels. Most of the deals involved land or stadium purchases. ‘Concerned citizens’ apparently raised the alarm.

‘I strongly believe professional football clubs should be well-managed and not ask for help from the tax payer when facing financial difficulties,’ said EU commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

‘If financial support is nevertheless given, then it should be granted under the EU state aid rules for aid to companies in difficulty,’ he said. ‘As regards these five football clubs, we have doubts this has been the case.’

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