Second-tier Spanish club Malaga, which was a Champions League quarterfinalist just seven short years ago, is facing potential sanctions for severe financial struggles.
Malaga was relegated from La Liga two seasons ago and after nearly bouncing back the next season, currently faces relegation to the third tier as they sit in 17th in the 22-team table. However, the greater struggles are taking place behind the scenes.
According to Spanish publication Cadena Cope, the Spanish governing body could force administration on the club, causing them to be relegated from the Segunda Division. The problems stem from mismanagement by Qatari owner Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani who has mismanaged the club’s finances to the point where they reportedly barely made a year-end payment of $5.5 million to keep the club afloat.
A report by Spanish publication Marca details the most glaring instances where Sheikh Al Thani mismanaged the club’s finance, including easy money on a buy-back payment, failing to offload unused players, and letting key players run down contracts rather than selling them for profit. Most notably, they had a chance to make a $5.5 million profit on Youssef En-Nesyri but failed to do so, with the player eventually moving to Sevilla.
The Cadena Cope report states that even should the club avoid relegation, it could be hit with a transfer ban that would prevent the club from signing new players until the financial situation is repaired. There is precedent for booting a club from the Segunda Division, after CF Reus Deportiu was excluded from competition last season, although a Spanish court eventually ruled for them to be reinstated to the Segunda B (third tier).