Posted April 18, 2012 on AP on Fox
Although it boasts some of the world's biggest stars in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Spanish football's debt crisis has put the league on course for economic ruin. Both Barcelona and Madrid have reached the Champions League semifinals, and could meet in the final on May 19 in Munich. Spanish league rivals Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Athletic Bilbao are in the Europa League semifinals. But the reality of their finances - much like the rest of the struggling country's economy - do not look as promising as their chances to win more European titles. According to recent government assessments, clubs in the top two divisions owe ?752 million ($988 million) in unpaid taxes - a spike of ?150 million ($195 million) over the past four years. The top division alone holds a combined debt of ?3.53 billion ($4.61 billion) through the 2010-11 season, with six of the teams in bankruptcy protection with payments due by June 30. ''Everything that is happening is based on the real economy...
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