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Spanish clubs expect to avoid UEFA's wrath
AFP, September 12th, 2012 4:51AM

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Europa League champion Atletico Madrid and Malaga were among 23 European clubs temporarily withheld prize money owed to them, pending an investigation into their debts, but the Spanish clubs said they were confident of avoiding punishment from UEFA.

In a statement, UEFA said it had identified "that important overdue payables toward other clubs, and/or toward employees or social/tax authorities existed in 23 cases," and would provide an update by Sept. 30.

Malaga qualified for the Champions League group stage for the first time, but its funding from its Qatari owners suddenly dried up this summer, forcing it to sell several players. It described the UEFA move as "a precautionary measure, and not a penalty." It added that it was working on reaching an agreement with the Spanish tax authorities to lift the blocking of its prize money.

Atletico, which also won the 2012 UEFA Super Cup, also hoped to be back in UEFA's good graces soon, having submitted documentation in response to UEFA's request for information on its finances. Atletico was reported to owe almost $200 million in taxes.

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