Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berluscon has agreed to to give the country’s cash-strapped clubs the opportunity to spread repayment of back taxes over five years.

The former owner of Milan has acted to try and ease the financial pressures on Italian clubs who are reported to have accumulated a collective debt of €500m in recent years.

Two weeks ago, Mario Monti, the head of the European Union competition department approved a separate government plan to allow clubs to spread debts over 10 years. The decree would help clubs to comply with a recent UEFA ruling which compels clubs to balance their accounts at the end of the season if they wish to participate in European competition.

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