January 9 – Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has hit out at the new format of the Spanish Super Cup, saying it is only taking place in Saudi Arabia because of the money.
This is the first year of a lucrative three-year deal – reportedly worth €120 million ($134 million) in total – reached by Spanish federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales to play the competition in the Gulf.
But both human rights bodies and UEFA have criticised the move and Valverde says he preferred the old format of a one-off game in August rather than a four-team competition in mid-season.
“The bottom line is football has become a business and as a business it looks for income,” Valverde told reporters ahead of today’s clash with Atletico Madrid. “That’s the reason we are all here.”
“It’s a completely different format to what we’re used to. It was always the first title and the opener of the season between the champions of La Liga and the champions of the Copa del Rey. I think it was fine as it was.
“It’s been changed and let’s see, it will be judged once it has happened. It’s interesting, with four good teams, but from a sporting point of view, I’m not sure. There’s only one league champion. And only one cup winner.”
Valencia, who qualified after winning the Copa Del Rey, are apparently earning €2 million from the competition compared to €6 million for Barcelona and Real Madrid, and €3 million for Atletico Madrid even though the two Madrid clubs won neither of the two domestic trophies. To make matters worse, they lost 3-1 to Real in Wednesday’s opener.
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