Málaga CF: Still Rich, And Not In Danger Of Being Relegated

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 18: Santiago Cazorla of Malaga in action during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Malaga CF at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 18, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Málaga CF is facing a liquidity crisis during the complicated negotiations surrounding the sale of the club, but they will not be relegated or removed from the UEFA Champions League.

Malaga Club de Futbol is not in danger of being relegated to the Liga Adelante (Segunda), contrary to some earlier reports. Previously, Goal.com passed on a story from Spanish daily El Confidencial, which suggested that Málaga's billionaire owner Sheikh Abdullah Al-Thani had ordered the club to look to sell star players Santi Cazorla, Salomon Rondón and Nacho Monreal to raise the cash to pay back some of their debts.

Sheikh Al-Thani and company have made more money available to the club, according to an earlier report from El País and a recent story from Málaga-based daily La Opinión de Málaga; the capital will be used to pay down most of its current debt, and will arrive within the next few days. Additionally, the club has come to an agreement with the players who haven't been paid, and that agreement will ensure that the club remains in the Champions League and in the Liga BBVA next season, pursuant to LFP and AFE rules.

Legitimate questions remain about Málaga's financial state, however, as UEFA takes a zero-tolerance policy towards clubs with outstanding debt to other clubs, or their own players. The complicated negotiations for the sale of the club have left them with a bit of a liquidity crisis, and have forced Sheikh Al-Thani to spend more of his own money; when and if the sale is finally completed, the club will have fewer financial problems.

In 2010 RCD Mallorca was barred from competing in the Europa League because of unpaid debts to Spanish side Villarreal, among others. Villarreal lodged an official complaint with the international governing body, and was inserted into Mallorca's spot in the Europa League.

Ironically, Villarreal -- since relegated to the Liga Adelante -- is among the clubs that have denounced Málaga for unpaid debt (the others are Hamburg and Osasuna). They alleged that Málaga had not paid the agreed-upon fee for star player Santi Cazorla (transferred officially prior to the start of the 2011 season), along with the interest and taxes on the sale. Málaga has since negotiated a settlement with Villarreal (Cazorla)--and Hamburg (Mathijsen) and Osasuna (Monreal)--and are more focused on acquiring the capital to pay their players.

However, the alarms have not been sounded with full force on the Costa del Sol, because Sheikh Al-Thani has begun to free up the money to pay -- or at least pay the first installment in a negotiated settlement -- his club's debts. In all, the new funds will allow Málaga to finally settle their debts with the other clubs, with the state -- they've been threatened with relegation -- and their own players.

"The problem," said a member of Málaga's board, "is that we're a club that is a bit peculiar financially. But we will make all of our payments."

That seems like an understatement. If everything works out the way Málaga has planned, they will actually be one of the clubs with the least debt in the Liga (according to a report from La Opinion de Málaga). The problem is that Sheikh al Thani appears to work on his own schedule, which has been a bit of a problem for the club, especially in their dealings with debt, and with the pesky officers over at UEFA.

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