Barca, Madrid prosper but Spanish league falters

July 11, 2011 - 1:29 PM
Spain Soccer Iniesta's Vest

FILE - In this July 11, 2010 file photo, Spain's Andres Iniesta celebrates after scoring a goal, with the words

MADRID (AP) — One year after Spain celebrated its World Cup triumph, its national soccer league is beset by debt, mismanagement and bankruptcies.

Twenty-two Spanish league clubs have gone into bankruptcy protection since lower-league team Las Palmas started the trend in 2004. On Friday, Racing Santander became the sixth insolvent club in this season's 20-team top division, which opens Aug. 21.

The Associated Press spoke with several club directors, financial experts and soccer figures. They agreed on a number of factors that have led to this trouble: large transfer fees, inflated players salaries, ego-driven owners with little fiscal responsibility and a clear divide in the distribution of television money.