On the first of September 2013, the Spanish Real Madrid Football Club made public its acquisition of Gareth Bale, for a record price of 100 million euro. Real Madrid has built up a considerable amount of debt in recent years. The acquisition of Bale is in large part financed by Caja Madrid, a regional bank which is now part of Bankia. Recently, Bankia has been bailed out by the ESM for no less than 18 billion euro. So in reality, European funds are being used as a backstop for unsustainable practices in the Spanish football competition.
1. Does the Commission regard these financial arrangements as a distortion of competition between clubs competing on a Europe-wide level?
2. Does the Commission approve of an ESM-backed bank being involved in an extravagant record deal, with the European taxpayer as its ultimate backstop?