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State Aid

State Aid: Investigation into potential aid to a Norwegian football club

22.10.2014

PR(14)66

Today, the EFTA Surveillance Authority opened an in-depth investigation into potential state aid to Sandefjord Fotball AS, a professional football club based in Sandefjord, Norway.

In 2006, the municipality of Sandefjord transferred two plots of land free of charge to subsidiaries of Sandefjord Fotball AS. In return, the football club was obliged to build a new stadium. This transfer of land was never notified to the Authority.

In order to help financing the new construction, the football club sold part of the land provided by the municipality to private investors for NOK 40 million. Following a number of complaints, the Authority will now investigate whether this transfer of land entails state aid, and if so, whether such aid is in line with the EEA Agreement.

”Financial assistance to professional sport clubs can be permitted in order to promote sport activities and infrastructure, provided that certain conditions are respected. However, in this case, the Authority has not yet received information allowing us to conclude that this transfer of land did not entail illegal state aid”, Ms Oda Helen Sletnes, president of the EFTA Surveillance Authority, said.

The new stadium was completed in July 2007 at a total cost of NOK 100 million. Sandefjord Fotball AS has since sold the stadium.

Having assessed the information provided by the Norwegian authorities so far, the Authority is not convinced that the transfer of land took place on market terms, and has doubts as to the market value of the plots of land at issue. The Authority will also require more information from the Norwegian authorities in order to assess whether any aid granted to the club is in line with the EEA state aid rules.

The Norwegian authorities, as well as third parties with an interest in the case, are now invited to provide their comments. A non-confidential version of the opening decision will shortly be published on the Authority's website and in the Official Journal of the European Union.

 

More information

 

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Andreas Kjeldsberg Pihl
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187

 




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