SOCCER

Court ruling orders La Roja to hand over Las Rozas base

Local authority has 60 days to evict national soccer team

The Spanish national team's training center in the Madrid suburb of Las Rozas.
The Spanish national team's training center in the Madrid suburb of Las Rozas.JESUS RUBIO (DIARIO AS)

The Madrid High Court of Justice (TSJM) has ordered the suburb of Las Rozas to put in motion a legal order obliging the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to return its training base to the local authority. The court ruling brings to end a legal wrangle spanning a decade and a half, and could represent a boost to the Las Rozas municipal coffers of up to 45 million euros.

The land, around 115,000 square meters of prime real estate in the affluent northern Madrid town, was ceded to the RFEF in 1998 when Las Rozas council signed a 50-year lease agreement. Almost immediately, the opposition Socialists lodged an appeal on the grounds that the council had not followed the correct procedures to hand over such a valuable tract.

On October 6, 2004, a year after the RFEF had set up camp in Las Rozas, a court ruling ordered the administration to renege on the deal and put the land up for sale through a public tender. "Everything was badly done and since then [the municipality] has been making a mockery of justice in an attempt to avoid its responsibilities," said the PSOE leader in Las Rozas, Miguel Ángel Ferrero, on Wednesday.

The confirmation of the ruling was made in 2007, ordering the RFEF to pay for the installations, or for them to be turned into municipal property for public use. Since then, a raft of appeals have been lodged, despite the TSJM ruling that none would be admitted.

The latest decision places the onus on the Las Rozas authorities to carry out the eviction of La Roja. It has been given 60 days to execute the order and will be fined 300 euros per day after that for non-compliance. A document of administrative concession must also be drawn up within that timeframe and the opportunity to bid for the land published in the official state gazette.

"We're talking about the megadocument of the century and they have to have it ready in 60 days, which is a very short time. It is basically saying they have to do things by the book," noted Ferrero.

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