A study by a professor at the University of Barcelona published last week showed the combined debt of the 20 clubs in Spain's top league rose by more than 650 million euros to at least 3.5 billion ($4.6 billion) in the year through June 2008.
The author of the study, Jose Maria Gay, has warned that Spanish soccer faces a potential financial collapse due to clubs spending and borrowing in excess of what they can afford. The Spanish professional soccer league (LFP), however, has defended clubs with high and rising levels of debt, declaring borrowing a legitimate form of financing expansion widely used in other corporate sectors.
Gay suggests that governing authorities such UEFA or the national government act in the LFP's absence. "We have to force the clubs, via a supervisory body, to live within their means, only buy players they can afford based on their financial situation and assets, and to limit their debt," Gay said. "The bubble is being inflated with ever larger amounts of air and at some point it's going to explode."