November 18 – Outspoken La Liga boss Javier Tebas has launched another verbal assault over the way Manchester City does business, alleging the Abu Dhabi-funded English club “competes outside the rules”.
In July City won their appeal against a two-year ban from European football when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) threw out UEFA’s sanction in what was arguably the most significant judgement since financial fair play was introduced a decade ago.
CAS said City were not guilty of “serious breaches” but Tebas, who in the past has described the conduct of clubs like City and Paris St Germain as being the equivalent of ‘financial doping’, continues to bang the same drum.
“I have criticized what they do so many times,” Tebas said at the end of an hour-long presentation outlining the financial state of La Liga.
“Doing it one more time makes no difference. City is neither affected by COVID or pandemics or anything because they are financed differently and it is impossible to fight against that.”
Tebas also said he expects Lionel Messi, reportedly coveted by City, to leave Barcelona. Messi submitted a transfer request in August to quit Barca – who he joined as a 13-year-old – but backed down after they refused to sanction his release.
Messi had fallen out with Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who has subsequently resigned. The 33-year-old Argentine superstar would now be available on a free transfer at the end of the season.
“We would prefer Messi to stay in La Liga but Ronaldo and Neymar left and we have not noticed any difference,” Tebas said. “We are ready.”
City have made no comment about the prospect of Messi linking up with manager Pep Guardiola, his former boss at Barca, but Tebas declared: “It seems the only club in Premier League that talks about registering Messi is Manchester City, who compete outside the rules. I am not the only one saying this.”
Tebas also commented on discussions around a potential European Super League, which Bartomeu said Barca were in favour of just before he stepped down. No other club has publicly signed up to the idea.
“It was a clandestine league for the 10 minutes after Bartomeu said they had joined,” Tebas said.
“I feel sorry for Bartomeu. He said it but then no one else said they were joining. This project is not viable financially for the clubs competing or the other clubs. It would really break the ecosystem we have established.”
Tebas also insisted that in reducing transfer spend by 66%, La Liga’s clubs were being “much more responsible than the other leagues”, citing the Premier League, whose clubs spent more than £1 billion on new players in the extended summer window.
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