Malaga, Atletico confident of escaping UEFA penalty

La Liga clubs Malaga and Atletico Madrid on Tuesday said they were confident of avoiding punishment after UEFA temporarily withheld prize money owed to them pending an investigation into their financial practices.

Malaga and Atletico were among 23 clubs named in a statement by European football's governing body as part of the "first measure" of UEFA's much-touted financial fair play rules.

UEFA said they had identified "that important overdue payables towards other clubs, and/or towards employees or social/tax authorities existed in 23 cases," and said they would "provide an updated situation as of 30 September 2012."

However, Malaga, who have qualified for the Champions League group stage for the first time, later issued a statement of their own to say that measures had already been taken to address their financial problems.

They said that "a complete internal restructuring process got underway over a month ago, aiming to guarantee the future viability of the Club.

"The Club is still fully immersed in this process, and has now stabilised the financial situation with other clubs, employees and players, and is in negotiations with the Ministry of Finance.

"Although a definitive agreement has not as yet been reached, the amount owed by the club has been significantly reduced over the last month. Malaga Club de Futbol has informed UEFA of this situation, and there is a transparent relationship between both organisations."

The Costa del Sol outfit have endured an uncertain summer after funding from their Qatari owners suddenly dried up, and were forced to sell key players including Santi Cazorla, who joined Arsenal, and Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon, who left for Rubin Kazan in Russia.

However, Malaga added that they were confident UEFA's statement did not mean they would face any punishment.

"The inclusion of Malaga Club de Futbol in the list published today (Tuesday) by UEFA is a precautionary measure, and not a penalty, which can be lifted as soon as an agreement is reached with the Agencia Tributaria (tax office), something which the Club has been working towards for several weeks."

Europa League holders and European Super Cup winners Atletico added that they too had recently taken action to step into line with UEFA's fair play rules.

"We would like to clarify that UEFA's statement does not mean that any punishment has been imposed on Atletico Madrid," read a statement on their website.

They said that documentation had been provided to UEFA on request last month and that they expected any ruling to be "favourable".

It was reported earlier this year that Atletico owed 155 million euros ($199.3m) to Spanish tax authorities alone.

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