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RIO DE JANEIRO: An audit by a consultancy firm has revealed that Brazil's first division football clubs have a combined debt of US$1.85 billion, Xinhua news agency reported.
Four of Brazil's top five debt-stricken clubs are from Rio de Janeiro with Botafogo's 270 million-dollar deficit placing the entity in first place.
Fluminense is next (US$194 million) followed by Vasco da Gama (US$$185 million), Atletico-MG (US$176 million) and Flamengo (US$170 million).
Santos is the only club to have a positive balance in the past 12 months, having cut its deficit from US$101 to US$99 million, according to consultancy firm BDO.
It said the clubs' overall debt increased by 19 per cent year-on-year.
"Clubs are accumulating debts to pay salaries," BDO consultant Amir Somoggi said.
"They aren't investing in marketing, stadiums or building relationships with fans. They are assuming high interest rates to finance an activity which has no projected return," said Somoggi. -- BERNAMA