LaLiga’s Thoughts on the European Super League

In light of the events in recent days regarding the European Super League, LaLiga held a press conference earlier today featuring President Javier Tebas alongside directors from other LaLiga Santander clubs to share their views on the situation and answer any questions from the media. Below is a recap of the press conference.

JAVIER TEBAS, president of LaLiga

Analysis of the European Super League

We have had constant threats of a breakaway league for 25 years. Finally, this came to a head and within 48 hours it is dissolving pretty fast.  I am not saying that it is finished, but it does seem that its close to and end.  I think that the threat that existed from many big clubs will no longer exist, because the response from fans, politicians and others has been tremendous. It is a threat that has been around a long time and we have finished with it. We cannot say that it will save us from ruins and that it does not harm national competitions when it is a reality that affects, at least, the whole concept of meritocracy. What is that about entering a tournament without counting regular league games? Finally, the president of Real Madrid, who has led this project, has told us that this is good for the future of football, but if this was the truth, it wouldn’t have been done in secret.

On LaLiga clubs financial situation after COVID-19

My assessment of those who say want to help is the following: They either lie or are wrong. Florentino Pérez lies because he does not help, he destroys football. He surprises me being the great businessman he is.

Spanish football is not going to be ruined in 2024 as Florentino Pérez says. We have taken the necessary measures to come out as strong as possible. We must continue working on economic control, on the sale of broadcast rights … and you have to remember that we have not asked for any bailouts during the crisis, we have paid religiously and on time, and the players have renegotiated, but there have been no defaults. Therefore, the situation is not catastrophic as Florentino Pérez says.

On economic balance among big teams

What you cannot do is take a single issue, the pandemic, which is what has generated the losses. If we look at the history of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, they have always been profitable. It’s just not true. Real Madrid’s accounts haven’t posted losses in the last 5 or 6 years. If we look solely at the past year during COVID, then yes. The Super League isn’t just for the ‘COVID year’, though, it is forever.

On big games international audience

In Spain, Villarreal vs Sevilla or Osasuna vs Eibar is much more interesting to Spanish audiences than Manchester United. Vice versa in England.Two weeks ago, Barcelona v Valladolid had the same ratings as a the UCL quarter finals Real vs Liverpool. Only 100k more. It is complete nonsense to say that youth do not watch the games, the domestic matches of the local leagues are the most important in each market.

On big transfers and City-PSG attitudes

It’s not really a question of having a Super League if you want to have enough money for huge transfers. It’s not a pyramid. It’s like a VIP box with 12 clubs, who decide who comes up to join them. The circumstances of this summer mean that it looks unlikely that these transfers can happen. But the most important thing is that Manchester City and PSG don’t do strange things with the financial controls. If they work like we work on these financial controls, then they can happen.

JOSÉ CASTRO, president of Sevilla FC

Analysis of the European Super League

I think football is for everyone, for the fans, it goes to all corners of the world. All teams can succeed. We cannot destroy this. We are proud to be named after our city and represent it. We have earned our prestige on the pitch and we want to keep it that way. Sevilla was not contacted by the Super League. But in any case, we believe in success on the pitch. Every club has the right to earn milestones in sports. It is a question of working hard and getting things right. It can be done in the current system.

“Effort must be rewarded and every club has the same rights”

I believe that all clubs have the right to achieve sporting milestones and for that they must be all present. It cannot be by decree. I believe that effort must be rewarded, and everyone has the same right, you must work hard for it. And we have been doing it for years, that is why we have played European in competitions. In the field is where you must make yourself worthy of these facts.

ÁNGEL HARO, president of Real Betis

Analysis of the European Super League

We do not agree with the way it was set up, the fact it is not based on sporting merit, how clubs are chosen to take part and the format. The approach also left out the key protagonist, the fans. This would have destroyed the dreams of fans and clubs, the hope that we can qualify for the best competitions. What we need to learn is to come out of this with solidarity and cooperation, which is not what the super league was about. We should not be looking to increase revenues at the top, but control costs. We can dream of reaching the top of the pyramid if we manage our club properly. Reaching the peak depends on sporting merit. 

“You get out of the crisis with solidarity and the Super League is not solidarity”

When we talk about the crisis, it is an unprecedented crisis that has affected everyone. The Super League is not supportive. This inflation in the world of football comes from excessive salaries from the top clubs.

FERNANDO ROIG, president of Villarreal CF

Analysis of the European Super League

At Villarreal, where I started as president 24 years ago, we are always thinking of reaching the top and dreaming of what we could be in the future. Villarreal has reached the Champions League three times and restricting the dreams of our fans is not good. Success should be earned at a sporting level. Nothing should block those possibilities. This project would have done that. And that’s why we reject it completely.

“I sell tiles and I can’t raise prices indefinitely”

We need to guide ourselves with the law that was passed some years ago in relation to LaLiga in Spain, which dictates that the ratio difference between the club with the most income and the club with the least be no more than three and a half times difference. We need to apply this to spending too, and for the spending of the smallest clubs to be three and a half or four times less than that of the wealthier clubs. What we can’t have is certain clubs spending ten or fifteen times more money, something that could increase indefinitely. We need to manage things, and to adapt to what Javier Tebas was saying. Having one Ferrari instead of two, and adjusting spending to real situations. Our reality is now very much marked by COVID, it has reminded us that incomes cannot grow indefinitely. I have a business that sells tiles, and I’d like to keep on increasing my prices, and if I had problems because I hadn’t managed things well, keep on increasing them. But no, I have to adjust my costs and prices to be reasonable on the market. Football is the same. Incomes are limited, and we’ve reached a point at which we can increase a little more with good management, but not indefinitely.

ANIL MURTHY, president of Valencia CF

Analysis of the European Super League

We would like to thank LaLiga for defending the interests of Spanish and European football. Valencia is totally against a Super League. We hope that those still in favour consider their position. This has damaged football. We should look at how to recover in a unified manner.

FRANCISCO J. CATALÁN, president of Levante UD

Analysis of the European Super League

On behalf of Levante UD and our fans, I would expand on three aspects: this competition generates and destroys a very defined business model. A model known to all and that generates success worldwide, that generates maximum concern among all of us who are part of it, it destroys the principle of solidarity. There is something fundamental: the right to dream of our fans, to be able to compete in these competitions that many of us see on television. Levante fans have the right to dream of a European competition, in big stadiums and with big clubs and this is unfeasible with this project. Our fans deserve the right to dream of competing in these big competitions, and that’s impossible under these plans. We completely reject them.

“Real Madrid needs the rest of clubs to get to where they are”

I think the concept that money that reaches the top and trickles down is not realistic.  For Real Madrid to get to where it is, it needs the rest of the clubs. We all make this product of quality, and it is a mistake to propose this format so that the best can get ahead. For someone to become champion you need the support of everyone else playing. It could work in short term but would be a long-term failure. There are clearly defined models that we could turn to but inventing something completely outside of the current model is a mistake. It is not necessary. Clubs have fared well without this competition. The balance between revenue and costs is essential. The goal of football is to enjoy each of the days locally. The Super League does not allow us to value that potential of football and day-to-day work. When LaLiga achieves that balance between income and expenses, it makes our clubs better managed.

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