Oil shock brings pastry panic to Spanish league

It seems that the repeated fining of Atlético Madrid and Real Betis for constant failures to control their crowds is no longer sufficient to replenish the cake-purchasing coffers of the bigwigs running the game in Spain.

With the price of oil rapidly approaching $150 a barrel, the transport costs of all pastry-related products across the Iberian peninsula have crept up to a near intolerable level, forcing the Spanish league to tap new funding sources.

And the organisation has struck gold with a gathering of suits in the Spanish capital having announced a sponsorship deal with financial behemoth BBVA worth 60 million euros to the league over three years.

"With this injection of cash, we can expect to introduce elevenses to our organisation. Maybe even vol-au-vents," predicted league spokesman Pepe Fernandez.

Rise in oil prices bad news for Spanish pastry lovers

There is no news as yet on whether the Spanish football organisation will be introducing a 'department of arranging games more than three days in advance' or a panel tasked with looking into why clubs can go for up to two years without paying their players.

Barcelona have taken their spending to a whopping 65 million euros over the past few weeks. And made Sevilla considerably richer in the process. Their latest signing is Dani Alves who joins the ranks of the Camp Nou club for 29.5 million euros - the third most expensive signing in Barça's history after Marc Overmars and Javier Saviola. And they went down well.

Whilst polls suggest that Barça fans are a little more enthusiastic over the signing of the Brazilian full back than Gerard Piqué, Sport's Joan Batlle is a trifle concerned about the enormous fees currently being shelled out by Joan Laporta - a man apparently spending his way to a referendum victory in a few weeks time.

"Laporta will end up paying around 50 million euros - for Alves and Cáceres - when the sum invested by Sevilla and Villarreal is barely four million," grumbled the hard to please opinion-maker.

Alves: Newest expensive recruit at Camp Nou 

As well as handing out bags of cash to his club's title rivals, the King of Catalunya has also begun the defence of his reign at Barcelona by getting down and dirty. Over the weekend, Laporta attacked the leader of the current campaign against him, Oriol Giralt, by alleging that the fed up fan may be in possession of friends of dubious character.

"We have worked hard to eradicate violence from the stadium," pointed out Laporta "and we don't have our photos taken with criminals," continued the club president on photographs published of Giralt with the Ultra group, Boixos Nois.

Marca and AS have been busying themselves during the European Championships by hunting down every player in the world and members of Cristiano Ronaldo's family and getting them to say that the transfer of the Portuguese winger to Real Madrid would be the greatest idea since since self-slaughtering pigs.

In Monday's editions both prying papers managed to get the opinions of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Gabriel Heinze, Claude Makelele and Cristiano Ronaldo's brothers.

Unsurprisingly, not one of them felt that it was egotistical folly of the highest order by Ramón Calderón which would blow a Maniche sized whole in the club's wage structure and leave the club's war chest emptier than Guti's bookshelves.