The president of the Spanish top flight, Javier Tebas, has thanked English football for stopping the European Super League in its tracks, but warned the project is not dead.
And Tebas has launched another astonishing attack on FIFA, repeating his claim that its president, Gianni Infantino, met with the Super League plotters ‘in secret’ and lent it support. [See below].
That allegation was strongly denied by Infantino last week at the FIFA Congress.
The La Liga chief, who is well known for his strident views, was speaking at a meeting of the European Leagues, a representative body that includes the Premier League, among 35 competitions across Europe.
Liverpool as one the Big Six clubs in English football would have been included in a super league plans
He did nothing to hide his anger at the Super League project, as well as his contempt for how the 12 founding clubs, including the Spanish giants, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, tried to hoodwink the rest of European football when they launched their project in April.
‘What annoys me is they think we are naïve and stupid,’ he said at the beginning of a 30-minute speech. ‘Do they think we are idiots?’
Tebas described the project as a ‘coup d’état’, but he said it was a plot English football foiled.
‘I really need to thank the Premier League, Richard Masters, the Premier League clubs, and Premier League fans,’ he said.
FIFA and UEFA threatened clubs and players who participated in any European Super League with a ban from their competitions
‘We have to recognise this fairly. There, they led the fact the super league model was quelled.’
The football world was shocked after 12 founding members – including the Premier League’s Big Six – signed up for the breakaway Super League, which threatened the future of UEFA’s elite competitions, the Champions League and Europa League.
In a chaotic 48 hours amid mass protests from across Europe from fans, media and even politicians, the plans came to a shuddering halt with teams withdrawing one by one. However, Barca, Madrid and Juventus have still not renounced their involvement.
And Tebas does not believe the saga of a Super League is finished.
President of Spain’s La Liga saysd English football ‘quelled’ the Super League, but it’s not dead
‘Is the Super League dead?’ asked Tebas. ‘No, for me, it is still alive. The format of the Super League of course is dead. But it is not just a competition format. It is an ideology that started 20 years ago… It is the big dream of some of those clubs.’
He added: ‘The driving force is [the idea] that the only people who generate revenue are the big clubs.
‘They think they are saviours of football and the rest of us are naïve, stupid puppets.’
He added: ‘We all contribute to ensure our industry and competitions grow. We say all clubs are important. They are not coming to save us.’
Fan protests in England forced Premier League clubs to think again over Super League plans
And Tebas highlighted the secretive approach of the Super League plotters.
‘If it was good for football, this great idea, why have you done it in hiding?
The Spanish league president insisted that the claims of the Dirty Dozen over modernising football were misleading.
‘[Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona] are going to give us a lesson about what modernising European football is about, these three clubs? It is not the clubs, its Florentino Perez, Joan Laporta and Andrea Agnelli.
‘They are not going to give us any lessons… Do they think they are cleverer than we are?
Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli was also one of the masterminds behind the Super League
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez spearheaded the European Super League plans
Barcelona (pictured – new president Joan Laporta), have failed to renounce their involvement in the plans along with Madrid and Juventus
‘The fact they have won a lot of titles doesn’t mean they are smarter than a lot of the leagues and a lot of the clubs in Europe. The fact their revenues are higher than a lot of us, it does not mean they are smarter than us.’
The Super League had claimed that the new competition was required to save football from a financial crisis. But Tebas, speaking to 600 delegates in Madrid and on Zoom, poured scorn on the suggestion.
‘We are not going to go bankrupt Mr Perez, or Mr Laporta, we are not going to go bankrupt Mr Agnelli,’ added. ‘That is not true.’
Tebas said the rebel club’s idea of modernisation involved ‘transferring the money from domestic leagues to a series of clubs’.
He added: ‘Do not deceive us. We know what is going on…We all know this. We are not stupid. It drives me mad.
He went on: ‘For them modernity is 99% of clubs in Europe have got it wrong. For them modernity is their own little estate.’
Disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the three rebel clubs over their involvement in the aborted European Super League, UEFA announced earlier this week.
That action could include suspension from two years of European competition.
However, the trio remain unrepentant and on Wednesday launched a stinging rebuke to UEFA.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has been on a war path with the rebel European clubs
In an extraordinary joint statement the clubs reiterated their commitment to ‘modernising football’ and accused UEFA of ‘coercion… towards three of the most relevant institutions in the history of football’.
The statement added: ‘This alarming attitude constitutes a flagrant breach of the decision of the courts of justice, which have already made a clear statement warning UEFA to refrain from taking any action that could penalise the founding clubs of the Super League while the legal proceedings are ongoing.’
The Suoer League has previously obtained an interim judgement from a Madrid court banning UEFA from
‘Therefore, the opening of disciplinary proceedings by UEFA is incomprehensible and is a direct attack against the rule of law that we, the citizens of the European Union, have democratically built up, while constituting a lack of respect toward the authority of the courts of justice themselves.
The Super League obtained an interim judgement from a Madrid court banning UEFA and FIFA from making more threats or doing anything to intimidate the breakaway league or any of its participants. The legal issues behind the judgement are now being considered by the European Court of Justice.
JAVIER TEBAS ACCUSES FIFA
La Liga president Javier Tebas had reignited his row with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino over involvement in the Super League project in spectacular fashion.
Tebas has used a speech to the European Leagues to claim that Infantino is ‘misleading’ football.
FIFA president Infantino insisted last week there was no ‘collusion’ over the European Super League project, despite previous claims from Tebas that he was involved in the plans.
In an impassioned defence of his conduct in the lead up to the failed scheme, Infantino dismissed Tebas’ allegation as ‘corridor gossip’.
‘You should look at the facts and not rumours or corridor gossip,’ Infantino told journalists following the 71st Annual Congress of the governing body.
But today, Tebas reopened hostilities.
‘He said: ‘me?’’ Tebas remarked in his 30-minute speech. ‘There are lots of rumours but I meet with whoever I want to. I can meet to listen to all these new and different ideas they have [said Infantino].
‘It was obvious he had been meeting because he did not deny having met the super league clubs.
‘Now he is transforming the whole new story to… mislead us. Yes, of course the president of Fifa can meet and talk to whoever he wants, but when we are talking about… his loyalty and ifhis loyalty is to UEFA and to the domestic leagues, and if he is being shown the format of the Super League and a closed Super League…
‘So as soon as he finished the meeting with those clubs… the first thing he should have done was to ring the president of UEFA and all the leagues that would be affected by it. He should not have kept it secret.
‘What I am saying now that FIFA was behind all this, it is not only me that says it, but even the clubs that were part of the project believed it too, because it said that in the documentation they had.
‘The documents of the Super League… why do they say W01, that was Infantino’s name. This is as if it has the blessing of FIFA. So, therefore, danger.
It has been alleged that the Super League plotters referred to Infantino using the code W01.
But speaking to journalists following the FIFA congress on Friday, Infantino insisted he did not support the breakaway scheme.
‘The worst that can happen to world football is some sort of breakaway league outside of the structures,’ he concluded. ‘I hope this clarifies once and for all.’