Valencia Club de Fútbol: every advantage has its disadvantage (and Vice Versa)
The General Court handed down a judgement in 2020 in which it annulled the Commission’s Decision regarding State aid granted to Valencia Club de Fútbol through a €75 million (regional) government guarantee. The Commission qualified the guarantee granted by a financial entity under the supervision of the Regional Government of Valencia, intended to cover the bank loans to Fundación Valencia to enable Fundación Valencia to acquire shares in Valencia Club de Fútbol (the beneficiary according to the Commission and General Court), as unlawful state aid in the meaning of Article 107(1) TFEU. This annotation elaborates on two pleas brought forward by Valencia Club de Fútbol: (i) manifest errors of assessment in the characterisation of an advantage and (ii) manifest errors of assessment when calculating the amount of aid. The General Court considered that the Commission made an error of assessment when applying the market economy operator principle, where the Commission did not carry out an overall assessment. Furthermore, the Commission did not sufficiently support the finding that there was no market price for a similar non-guaranteed loan. In their conclusion, the annotators address the application of the Guarantee Notice by the Commission.
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