La Liga president Javier Tebas has called for greater controls within football to check the power of clubs like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, after declaring the European Super League to be “dead”.
Manchester City were among six English clubs which signed up to the breakaway league on Sunday, while PSG rejected the opportunity to be involved, before it quickly fell through under global pressure from fans and politicians.
Tebas appeared to suggest that many of the teams who signed up for the breakaway league may have been motivated by their struggles to match the financial clout of City, who are owned by United Arab Emirates deputy prime minister, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and PSG, who are owned by Qatar Sports Investments.
“State-owned clubs like Man City and PSG – these clubs need to face some controls,” Tebas said during a virtual news conference on Thursday. “They haven’t done anything outrageous so far, but we will see.”
All six English clubs which signed up promptly withdrew and were swiftly joined by Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid, but fellow Spanish members Real Madrid and Barcelona have maintained their support for the competition. German clubs, including deposed Champions League holders Bayern Munich, never agreed to join.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has insisted the project is not finished and could be presented again in a different format, while his Barcelona counterpart Joan Laporta says “it is absolutely necessary”, but Tebas, a long-time opponent of the Super League, said it was effectively doomed.
“The Super League is dead without the English and German teams, let’s be realistic, it’s dead,” Tebas said.
“They cannot create the project they want to create. After 20 years of threatening a Super League, finally this threat came true and in 48 hours it has disappeared.”
Perez said the Super League was urgently needed to prevent top clubs from going bankrupt after their revenues were badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic and clubs being unable to sell match tickets or merchandise.
But Tebas said the situation was not as extreme as Perez suggested it was, saying the clubs who have been hurt financially merely needed to control their spending on wages and transfer fees.
“This isn’t a problem of revenue, these clubs need to reduce their expenses. We don’t need to keep increasing earnings so that players can have seven Ferraris instead of six,” he said.
“This is a problem of distribution. My position is very clear, we don’t need to increase revenues, we just need to manage expenses. We are not ruined financially and we don’t have to take any exceptional measures.”
Tebas said that he is not currently planning any punishment for the three Spanish clubs.
“We are not talking about sanctions,” he said. “Everyone wants to cut people’s heads off.
“We will have to wait and see what happens in the end, but if they defend their position, we will have to consider our options.
“These clubs have been sanctioned by their own fans. Almost everyone in football has said they’re against this, and that is like a reputational sanction.”
Barcelona president Laporta, making his first public comments on the project, told Catalan state television on Thursday: “The biggest clubs create the most financial resources and we must have our say in deciding how the earnings are shared.”
Barcelona’s participation was conditioned by Laporta’s pledge to let the club’s members vote on the proposal.
“We are keeping a prudent stance,” Laporta said. “It is a necessity, but our club members will have the final word.”
Meanwhile, Atletico sent a letter to the club’s supporters on Wednesday in which they apologised “for the confusion that has been generated in recent days”.
The letter attempted to explain the club’s initial decision to be part of the Super League.
“We couldn’t allow ourselves not to be in that group of clubs that are the main content generators in the world of football,” the letter said.
“However, the conditions and circumstances under which our incorporation into this group was to take place have not been met and, consequently, today we have decided not to finally consolidate our support for the project.”