THE Costa del Sol could be set for a multi-million euro boost to the local economy after Malaga FC secured a lucrative Champions League spot for the first time in their history.
The arrival of some of the world’s best players to the city will be followed by thousands of supporters from across Europe flooding hotels and restaurants along the coast during the quiet winter months.
Local businesses will also benefit from the increased international profile of the area as Malaga play in front of huge global TV audiences.
The club’s mega-rich owner Sheikh Abdullah Ben Nasser Al-Thani – a member of the Qatari royal family – has spent around €100 million since buying the club in 2010.
Last year he announced he is to invest €400 million in the redevelopment of La Bajadilla port in Marbella, with plans to include a quay for cruise liners.
Malaga booked their spot in Europe’s premier club competition after securing a fourth-place finish in Spain’s La Liga on Sunday.
“Teams usually bring five or six thousand fans with them, so the knock-on effect is that it will be great for local businesses with the bars, restaurants and hotels around Malaga all feeling the benefit,” Dave Redshaw, from supporters group The Guiri Army, told the Olive Press.
“I think it will be a great boost for the city as a whole, particularly at a difficult time economically for many people.”