‘Kill off football’ - Super League claim made amid new ‘idea’ impacting Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs

The La Liga chief gave his views on a wide range of topics, from the European Super League to oligarch owners like Roman Abramovich.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has argued that clubs who maintain hopes of forming a European Super League want to ‘kill off football’.

Speaking at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit, the lawyer, who is in his third term as chief of Spain’s national league, accused teams involved in the plan to create a breakaway competition of potentially causing ‘huge damage’ to the continental game.

Last year’s announcement that 12 of Europe’s biggest clubs were aiming to form a new division with fixed places for founding members caused widespread outrage, and brought about condemnation throughout the professional game.

Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool were the Premier League teams involved in the project.

And amid rumours that a new ‘idea’ for the tournament could be reignited in the near future, Tebas gave a frank assessment of the competition and the impact it could have on European football.

The 59-year-old also delivered his view on Roman Abramovich’s ownership of Chelsea, claiming that the shift towards oligarchical control threatened to hinder the sustainability of national leagues.

The Russian billionaire confirmed on Wednesday that he is looking to sell the Blues amid mounting pressures on his role at the club following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich is a known associate of Putin, and several prominent Russian figures have been hit with economic sanctions across Europe in response to the conflict.

Here’s what Tebas had to say on a number of key topics...

On the European Super League

“A week ago, there was a meeting between three teams, and now they say that they don’t want fixed spaces. They’re talking about, creating, if you like, a continental league with two categories, where the national leagues are second categories and in the first stage [of a Super League] there will be two or three teams who can go down and be relegated.

“But there will always be typical teams - Juve, Real Madrid, Barcelona - because it will be very difficult for them to go down.

“They have enemies in UEFA and they have enemies in the Premier League because the great growth of the Premier League goes against their model. We know this. We have to warn against this.

“Every time we hear communication about the Super League and these three clubs I get cross. I think they lie more than Putin, to be honest. They’re constantly indicating that this won’t affect the national leagues, and they must think all the national leagues must be idiots, that we must be dumb.

“All of us, unanimously, we all say that it hurts the national leagues. For me it is an insult, I feel humiliated, because they do huge harm. This will cause huge damage to the national leagues.

“The problem with the Super League is that it’s not a problem of the competition itself, it’s who controls this.”

On oligarchs like Abramovich owning football clubs

“We can’t forget that we have to focus on the appearance of oligarchs in recent years - be those people, or physical or institutional states.

“They can lose money and are able to invest what’s necessary to compete and get success on the field. That goes against the sustainability of football itself. It goes against competition itself.

“It’s a very dangerous issue to allow these oligarchs or states to participate because when there was no pandemic, we were going towards a business model of football that wasn’t sustainable economically, because that money that comes without being from the sector creates inflation, clubs have to spend more and more money to maintain their players and this generates huge losses.”

On redressing the balance on wealth inequality in the professional game

“There always has to be a balance and equality, but I believe that we cannot make false balances for equalised things.

“I know Real Madrid is a great team, but in order to balance things off you cannot take everything that is their’s and give to Rayo Vallecano, for example. We can’t do that. That’s the social reality.

“There are ways to balance things out - finding norms, regulations. Not just financial regulations, but sporting regulations. In the Spanish league we’re working on these issues. It’s a sustainable league. Small to medium teams are not indebted, even with Covid, and we have to apply that to the totality of world football and European football.

“We cannot take decisions based on taking away from the big to give to the small because if you believe that is the only solution, that would not be the ideal solution. I’m not defending the Super League.

“The Super League wants to kill off football, and we don’t want this to happen.”