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La Liga in debt to the tune of €3.53bn - report

Despite the news that Barcelona have signed David Villa for £34.2 million and are closing on the signature of Cesc Fabregas for a similar sum, a report by the University of Barcelona has revealed that La Liga's debts are at an all-time high.

The study, carried out by professor Jose Maria Gay, suggests that debt has risen in accounts for the 2008-09 season and now stands at €3.53 billion (£3.03 billion).

Giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, along with relegated Numancia, were the only clubs to make an operating profit, and the study also revealed that 85% of clubs' debt comes from player wages.

"Barca and Madrid will have to make an effort, sacrificing today so the league can flourish," Gay said in the Guardian. "One step back, several forward. If this does not happen, the league will be in its death throes."

With Barca and Real miles ahead of the rest of the league [they finished 28 points ahead of Valencia], Gay believes it is time to re-write the rules.

"Who can win the league? The answer is obvious: Barca or Madrid. Madrid or Barca. Nobody else." he said. "Maybe now is the right time to renegotiate the rules of the economic game between all the protagonists.

"Let's not kid ourselves, Spanish football is in a very difficult situation, like our economy. You can't spend more than you earn. This is the fundamental rule for economic survival."

The financial situation in Spain was highlighted further on Wednesday as Real Mallorca - who finished 5th in the league - filed for voluntary administration having failed to find a buyer to take on their €85 million debt.

Mateu Alemany, the managing director and majority shareholder, said the move would "open up positive opportunities" and was "a solution not a problem". He added: "There will be a philosophy of austerity. The insolvency will affect the entire first-team squad.. and those who earn the most."

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