"There are teams in very difficult situations," Miguel Cardenal said.
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Spanish football clubs owe the government 670 million euros ($874 million) in taxes, Spain's Sports Council said Thursday.

Council president Miguel Cardenal said the amount of back taxes clubs owed was down from 750 million euros ($979 million) in 2012.

Cardenal told Spanish radio station Cope that the reduction was "a positive piece of data,'' while insisting that the league must find a more equitable way to distribute its television revenues to ensure the survival of many clubs in financial difficulties.

UEFA has barred Malaga from European competition for one season for not paying player wages and taxes on time as part of its effort to force clubs to clean up their finances.

Cardenal said that he is pushing for a new law that would force clubs to sell the TV rights for games collectively, instead of individually as they do now.

In 2011, Real Madrid and Barcelona each took in a reported 140 million euros, with the next biggest earner, Atletico Madrid, getting less than 50 million euros.

"It's very important because (TV money) is a principal source of financing for clubs,'' Cardenal said. "It is natural to think that the difference between what the biggest clubs receive and those that receive the least become smaller.''

High debts have forced several Spanish clubs to seek bankruptcy protection in recent years. Deportivo La Coruna became the latest topflight club to do so in January.

"There are teams in very difficult situations, and we are doing all we can to help them move into this new era in the best possible way,'' Cardenal said.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.