Tebas lashes out at ‘toxic and detrimental’ Champions League proposals and denies racism

By Samindra Kunti in Madrid

May 31 – At a seminar ahead of the Champions League final La Liga boss Javier Tebas again slammed the plans of UEFA and ECA to reform European football from 2024 with a continental Super League.  He also rubbished what he deemed insinuations of racism by Manchester City boss Khaldoon Al-Mubarak.

Tebas called a draft plan to transform the Champions League from 2024 into an elite super league with limited promotion and relegation “toxic and detrimental to European football”.

“The Super Champions League proposed by the ECA and UEFA is a conspiracy that does not take into account the leagues of Europe, which are the representatives of the competitions. The collective interests of the clubs do not coincide with the individual ones,” he said.

“UEFA and ECA are creating a competition that will be a real failure and aims directly at the heart of national competitions because, let no one be deceived, this will create a divide between rich and poor as only a handful of clubs will have a VIP pass.

“The moral blackmail of the European football engines has made UEFA agree to revise its Champions format and want to adapt it for the profit for the wealthiest. We all know that ECA only represents a few clubs.”

Under the proposals, Europe’s new prime competition would include 32 teams split into four groups of eight. The top 24 teams would retain their spot for the following season’s competition. That would end the tradition that clubs qualify for Europe via their national leagues. The proposed format would largely alienate medium-sized and smaller clubs from across the continent with only four places open to the winners of Europe’s 54 national leagues.

Tebas is prepared to take the fight over the control and destiny of European club football to the courts. “”That is what the courts are for,” said Tebas. “When one does not agree and thinks that an illegality is being committed, the courts are there.

“I don’t think it is going to happen. In La Liga, except for two clubs, we are against this type of format. It will be difficult to start a type of format that goes against the big leagues in Europe, and even many smaller and medium leagues are against this type of format,” he continued.

“It is true that you can make more money, but it is not because there is new money but because you are taking it away from all the national leagues,” said Tebas. Part of it would go only to those 18 or 20 privileged clubs in Europe and the rest would not have that income any more. But then, in the medium and long term they [the privileged clubs] are also going to lose.”

He also rubbished comments made by City boss Khaldoon Al-Mubarak. Earlier this month Tebas had said that City, owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, and Paris St-Germain, backed by Qatar Sports Investments, were “the playthings of the state” and should be kicked out of the Champions League. UEFA are investigating City for a breach of the Financial Fair Play rules.

The City chairman responded to Tebas’s comments by claiming that some rivals were jealous and that there is “something deeply wrong in bringing ethnicity into the conversation.” The Spaniard has rubbished those insinuations of racism. “Anyone who knows me knows perfectly that I am not racist,” said Tebas. “Two of my grandchildren are Arabic, and one is called Nasser.”

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1569056492labto1569056492ofdlr1569056492owedi1569056492sni@o1569056492fni1569056492