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Spain’s World Cup Coach Says Economic Slump Helps Soccer Team

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Spain’s World Cup-winning coach Vicente del Bosque says the country’s economic slump is good news for the national team.

A day after parliament approved a motion to pressure cash-strapped soccer clubs into paying some $800 million in back taxes, Del Bosque said financial strife will force teams to develop players instead of signing them.

Spending on transfer fees in the Spanish league plummeted by 45 percent to 262 million euros ($351 million) in the last offseason, according to a report published Sept. 9 by Barcelona-based Prime Time Sports.

“There’s more backing for youth team training in times of crisis,” Del Bosque told reporters in Madrid today. The economic situation in Spain “isn’t a problem” for player development, he said.

Del Bosque led Spain to its first World Cup title in South Africa in July, two years after it won the European Championship for the first time since 1964.

As Spain emerges from two years of recession, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is cutting spending and increasing retirement ages to slash the euro region’s third-largest deficit.

Spanish clubs owed 627 million euros in taxes between them in 2008 according to the latest available figures.

The teams are continuing to put off tax payments as they spend on transfer fees and player salaries and bonuses, according to Francisco Jorquera, the Galician party’s parliamentary spokesman who presented yesterday’s motion.

“There’s a dynamic in soccer that’s totally irrational and it contaminates the public sector,” Jorquera said in a telephone interview.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Duff in Madrid at aduff4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story Christopher Elser celser@bloomberg.net

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