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Commission clamps down on Spanish practices

The European Commission has blown the whistle on Spanish football practices with a decision that will force Real Madrid and FC Barcelona to repay illegal state subsidies enjoyed for a quarter of a century. Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner, has told Spain to recoup millions of euros of unlawful state aid to seven clubs that came in the form of soft loans, tax breaks and sweetheart property deals.

Players to wear embedded cameras

Spain's FirstVision has created a shirt to be worn by players with an embedded camera at chest level to provide broadcast standard video.   The device has been tested by players in training sessions at Barcelona and by officials in a match between Barcelona and Real Madrid.   The content was distributed by 150 broadcasters.

Barcelona in best economic position in history

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeou has claimed in an interview with the Financial Times weekend magazine that Barcelona are in the best economic position in their history.   Annual revenues have tripled in a decade to €530m.   Only Real Madrid does better with €604m.

Barca probably have the lowest average ticket prices of any of the top 15 clubs in Europe.  However, after eschewing commercial shirt sponsorships for many years, it is now highly reliant on the €30m a year it gets from its Qatari shirt sponsor.

First Chinese stake in top flight European club

Wang Jialin, chairman of the Dailan Wanda property group, is to buy a stake in Atlético Madrid.   This represents the first Chinese investment in a top flight European club.   It should help Atlético to build a fan base and attract sponsors in the key Chinese market.

Wang Jialiin is China's second richest man with personal wealth estimated at $13.2 billion.  His ambition is to build a global entertainment empire stretching from China to Hollywood.   Last year his group bought the landmark Edificio Espana tower in central Madrid for €265m.