Tebas warns that FFP-beating ‘state-owned’ clubs are a clear danger to Europe’s club game

By Andrew Warshaw

June 17 – Spanish football boss Javier Tebas (pictured) has lashed out yet again at what he describes as cash-rich “state-owned” clubs endangering the entire landscape of elite football competition.

In the week when the Spanish League filed a complaint with UEFA against Paris St Germain, Tebas used a high-profile summit in Amsterdam to issue a fierce tirade against the likes of PSG and Manchester City – both Middle East owned – for allegedly circumventing financial fair play rules to the detriment of everyone else.

La Liga filed the same complaint against Manchester City in April and Tebas, who in the past has accused both clubs of “financial doping”, pulled no punches when addressing a European Leagues summit  of 240 clubs and 32 leagues on Thursday.

“We think European football is in danger. [We have] not been able to design a system to control the state-owned clubs,” Tebas declared. “UEFA have allowed losses because clubs reduced their turnover, but PSG increased their wage bill by an incredible amount during Covid.”

“Their wages for 2021-22 were €600 million. It is totally impossible for that to be sustainable. That is without including Mbappe. It is obvious they are not fulfilling FFP rules.”

Turning to Manchester City, Tebas charged: “Manchester City have, or used to have, 68% of their revenue through commercial income. At Manchester United it was 58%, at Real Madrid 54%.  It’s impossible to have that amount. Manchester City as a brand is not worth that much.”

“PSG is even more obvious. All the state companies in Qatar that have a relationship with PSG were offering these commercial revenues – a lot higher (than other elite clubs). It is totally impossible. Contracts were inflated. State-owned clubs inflate sponsorship agreements and have uncontrolled losses. Things can’t continue as they are.”

Tebas also took personal aim at PSG owner Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, one of the most powerful figures in global football who is also chair of the European Club Association, sits on UEFA’s executive committee and is chairman of beIN Media Group, one of the world’s biggest buyers of football rights.

UEFA has always brushed off allegations that Al-Khelaïfi’s multiple roles lead to clear conflicts of interest but Tebas dismissed that.

“A lot of people have contracts with beIN Sport, even La Liga,” said Tebas. “Obviously there is a clear conflict of interest. He buys UEFA broadcasting rights. It is our obligation for transparency and governance rules to file complaints.”

He further insisted: “We are not doing this to defend the Spanish clubs. We are doing it to ensure the European football ecosystem is not endangered which it currently is. These state-owned clubs are really damaging the football ecosystem. It is terrible damage. It is unfair competition. They are inflating the wage bill in Europe and they question the credibility of UEFA itself and financial control.”

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