Tebas maintains theme of ‘state club’ threat to European football’s market balance

August 7 – His persistence is tiring but the message is enduring. Outspoken La Liga president Javier Tebas is back on the offensive against Manchester City and Paris St Germain once again accusing them of being “state clubs” and a danger to football.

Tebas has long urged UEFA to clamp down on what he calls ‘financial doping’ and in a television show in Spain renewed his attack on City and PSG.

“State clubs… present a danger that football hasn’t seen before,” charged Tebas. “They’re operating entirely outside of the rules and risk inflating markets to disastrous levels.”

Premier League champions City are owned by City Football Group, in which the Abu Dhabi United Group has an 87% stake, while French title-holders PSG have been owned by the Qatar Sports Investment fund since 2011.

Critics would argue that financial inequality is greater in Spain than any other league in the world with Real Madrid and Barcelona dominating the market by paying far higher wages and grabbing the lion’s share of tv money. Both clubs have huge debts but Tebas conveniently stays clear of that.

“The governors of European football need to show a much stronger commitment to healthy domestic football,” said Tebas.

“This would include stricter financial controls that limit state clubs like City or PSG from vastly outspending rivals… it would include firmer Financial Fair Play penalties, which have been a very weak deterrent up to this point.’

Tebas said financial rules in Spain prevent investors from creating debt or inflating the market, although he acknowledged that Barca and Real had always spent more than their rivals.

“Barcelona and Madrid have never received state support and have always been run in a financially responsible way,” the 57-year-old argued. “’Big clubs have always existed across Europe… they can create distortion if there are no financial controls.”

“In the case of Spain, we’ve spent the past years reducing levels of debt to historic lows, and we don’t want our biggest clubs to have more money if others don’t.”

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