Thebes: "I don't think Barça have bought the referees"

The president of LaLiga, Javier Tebas defended a European football model without the Super League in a new edition of Foros de Vanguardia held in Barcelona.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
16 March 2023 Thursday 13:24
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Thebes: "I don't think Barça have bought the referees"

The president of LaLiga, Javier Tebas defended a European football model without the Super League in a new edition of Foros de Vanguardia held in Barcelona. Beyond the football model, the president of the employers' association also spoke openly on burning issues such as the payment of FC Barcelona for 20 years to the vice president of the technical committee of referees Jose María Rodríguez Negreira, the financial fair play and the limitations of Barcelona to sign in the next market. To the conference – led by the deputy to the presidency of the Godó Group, the journalist Ramon Rovira, and with the participation of the sports editor of La Vanguardia, Joan Josep Pallàs; the deputy director of Mundo Deportivo, Cristina Cubero; and the head of sports of RAC1, Joan Lluís García-, attended by Javier Godó, Count of Godó and editor of La Vanguardia; the CEO of the Godó Group, Carlos Godó; the director of Libros de Vanguardia and Vanguardia Dossier, Ana Godó.

In a first intervention in which he was guided by a series of transparencies worked on, Thebes defended preserving a football ecosystem without the Super League, which he sees as a threat. “You have to explain it. Whatever happens with the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will continue to be discussed. And there is talk of a very similar type of model that the ECA and UEFA already tried to implement in 2019. They presented a model of promotion and relegation between European competitions that was rejected by all the European clubs and leagues because it left football in the hands of the most powerful clubs”, recalled Tebas. “In the Super League there are two divisions and below the leagues. I want to reflect. The leagues are vertical models and the European competitions are horizontal. All leagues can access Europe due to their meritocracy. It has always been a successful model, although there are things that need to be corrected, such as the governance model. Bringing a model of vertical leagues to Europe implies that it is always the same ones who play, ”he insisted.

On an economic level, the president of LaLiga defended a sustainable model in which all European clubs comply with economic controls. “You have to be immediate and forceful so that the clubs comply with fair play. There is no need to punish when the damage has already been done. In that we have allies such as the Bundesliga. LaLiga has filed several complaints for breach of financial fair play at UEFA. We have been very active with this, ”he insisted.

On the Negreira case, Tebas explained and regretted the harsh consequences at a reputational level that they are doing at FC Barcelona but also in LaLiga. “We are facing the biggest reputational crisis in the history of LaLiga. If Barça goes down to Second, nothing would happen either, it would go up the following year, "he pointed out. And he justified his forcefulness. "It is serious conduct. With this I am not saying that Barcelona have bought the referees. I do not question the sporting successes of FC Barcelona. Neither his sextet nor the league titles", indicated Tebas, who pointed out that "the reputational damage is for Barcelona but also for LaLiga. It is very unpleasant for us. Barcelona is one of the most important teams in the competition. But hiding is not the solution, you have to flee from victimhood. There are some facts and explanations must be given beyond the judicial ones, ”he added.

Asked how it affects Barcelona's diminished reputation that LaLiga appears as a private prosecution in the case, Tebas defended the objectivity of the employers' association. “I don't know what FC Barcelona has to do. I know what we have to do. There are Osasuna executives who are going to go to jail for fixing matches. And we, LaLiga, appear as a private prosecution. Also in the case of Levante-Zaragoza and in Huesca with the bets in the Oikos case. We cannot differentiate between clubs. We cannot look away. The facts are the facts. We cannot differentiate between large and small teams, we must not play the victim. Laporta is wrong about this”.

While explaining that he has not spoken with the Barcelona president since November, Tebas also spoke of the Barcelona alliance with Real Madrid chaired by Florentino Pérez. “There are things that I don't understand but I respect them. I respect that if there is a project that unites them like the Super League, then they have certain alliances ”, he deepened.

Questioned for being a person with a vehement and critical character and with many open fronts, Tebas said he considers himself "a clear and vehement person". And a good negotiator. I am confronted with the RFEF leaders, not with the organization itself. confronted with Florentino Pérez, president of Real Madrid, for the football model he defends. And the same thing happens to me with the Premier League. I am the only CEO of the major leagues who has gone to all the European league assemblies in the last 10 years At least the whole world knows what LaLiga thinks and what football model we defend. We have a lot of responsibility", he sentenced.

Within this model, Tebas defends a treasury formula so that football is sustainable. “Barcelona knows what it has to do. He can make levers but they are not going to add him to sign. If CVC does not interest you, then they are free. I have never criticized them for not joining. Yes, I have said that they had engaged because it was so. I have criticized the lack of loyalty but not the decision not to be there. They asked me to speed it up even so that Messi would stay. I can even say the signings they wanted to make, ”he stressed. About a hypothetical return of the Argentine striker, Tebas was very clear. “I want Messi to be at Barcelona. He is the best ever. In addition, the Barça brand would be reinforced and that of LaLiga, too. If Barça is placed with a salary mass of 400 million, it could sign him ”.

Delving into this issue, Tebas also referred to Gavi's registration as a first-team footballer and which is currently supported by a precautionary measure. “Barça has a solution; Cut expenses and increase profits. If Barcelona has problems, LaLiga is co-responsible. There is no mania for Barça or any club. When Bartomeu was president, the fair play of LaLiga already existed. Barcelona was always at its best. Madrid no. Currently Madrid does not have that problem because in recent years they have had great benefits. Here a mistake was made that was the accelerated amortizations of players. That hurt the salary limit, ”he explained.

Barcelona and Real Madrid will meet in the classic league match at the Camp Nou next Sunday. Thebes ruled out taking the classic to another country. “It is a game that should be here, the fans here should experience it. It is part of the history of our football, of our people. We would lose money in the long term for sure if we took it with us, ”he said.