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By ESPN Staff

Debt-ridden Spanish clubs fail to pay players

MADRID, July 22 (Reuters) - Debt-ridden clubs in the top two Spanish leagues owe their players over 38 million euros ($60.50 million), according to the country's association of footballers (AFE).

AFE president Gerardo Gonzalez Movilla said that the economic crisis was hitting Spanish sides hard and the number of complaints by players against clubs had reached record levels.

He added that the decision of several clubs to go into administration meant that many players would not be paid the money they were owed.

'We have had more accusations than ever this year,' Gonzalez Movilla told sports daily AS. 'The added problem is that in previous years they would eventually get paid but not now.'

Last season players from Primera Liga side Levante threatened strike action over unpaid salaries and many other clubs in the top two divisions are experiencing serious financial difficulties.

One of the factors that has aggravated the problems has been the collapse of the Spanish property market. Construction magnates have traditionally been the biggest investors in Spanish clubs.

One such magnate, Real Mallorca president Vicenc Grande, agreed this week to sell his controlling interest in the club after his real estate company Grupo Drac filed for insolvency.

Gonzalez Movilla said the increasing financial problems of Spanish clubs meant they risked losing players to foreign leagues.

'If things carry on like this, the players will end up going to other leagues and no one will want to come here,' he said.

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