Thu, Jun 14, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Soccer federation says it can't stop illegal payments

AFP , MADRID

Spain's soccer federation said on Tuesday that it could do little to stop so-called "motivational payments" allegedly paid by one club to another to beat certain opponents, which are illegal.

Allegations that the payments are dished out -- usually to teams which no longer have anything to play for that are facing a well-placed squad still in the race for a title -- have swirled around Spanish soccer for years.

But with the approach of the end of an especially tight La Liga championship season this weekend, Spain's sports media have in recent days thrown the spotlight on the practice.

"We know this exists but as long as no complaint is filed, we can't do anything," a spokesman for the Spanish soccer federation said.

"Several inquiries have been opened in recent years following complaints but we have never managed to prove that these payments were made so no penalty has ever been handed out," he said.

Sports daily Marca has reported that Real Mallorca have been promised 2 million euros (US 2.7 million) if they defeat or draw with Real Madrid on Sunday.

Real Madrid, tied with arch rivals Barcelona on 73 points with one round left, need to beat Real Mallorca to win La Liga for a record 30th time.

The newspaper said each Real Zaragoza player received 50,000 euros following their side's 2-2 draw against Real Madrid on Saturday.

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