Manchester, United Kingdom | AFP | Qatari-owned French side Paris Saint-Germain are “laughing” at the financial fair play (FPP) system, a combative Javier Tebas, president of Spain’s La Liga, said on Wednesday.
The 55-year-old also warned that if he was not satisfied with UEFA’s response to La Liga’s concerns regarding the lavish spending of both PSG and Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City then he would consider taking his case to Brussels and the European Union.
PSG stunned the football world when they prised Brazilian superstar Neymar away from Barcelona for a world record 222 million euros ($264 million) and then took Monaco’s highly-rated French star Kylian Mbappe on loan with an option to buy him for 180 million euros.
In response, UEFA launched an investigation to see whether the club has broken FPP rules.
Manchester City also spent heavily in the last transfer window, lavishing an estimated £221 million (242 million euros, $288 million) on players although they offloaded several too.
– ‘It can’t be tolerated’ –
“PSG are laughing at the system,” Tebas said at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester, speaking through a translator.
“A Spanish journalist defined it, and I hope I am not being rude, as like they were peeing in the bed or the swimming pool.
“Well Neymar has gone on to the diving board and peed into the pool — it can’t be tolerated.
“But this is not solely because of Neymar. We at La Liga have fought hard for collective TV rights. We are being destroyed and this is going to damage the industry.”
That provoked a strong reaction from the French league.
“These unworthy remarks are unbecoming of an institution as respectable and successfui as the Spanish La Liga,” the LFP wrote.
Tebas, who has revolutionised La Liga since taking over in 2013, engineering a collective TV football rights deal among other measures, said PSG were simply not paying market prices.
“All PSG have to do is turn on the gas tap,” he said, referring to Qatar’s massive gas reserves. “This is what PSG have been doing for the past four years.”
Tebas said it was not a level playing field for clubs.
“Teams that use use financial doping play for an entire year and can win their league or a European trophy, although some have lost as well.
“So it is not fair to the victims which are the teams playing by the rules. We have to get a system that is fair to the victims.
“The rules are there on the books.”
Tebas said however he was not pushing for PSG or City to be banned from European competition.
“We are not looking to kick them out, (but) if we don’t do anything then now it will be PSG and Manchester City and then in the future it will be a sheikh from Bahrain, or a Malysian businessman who will ‘deform’ the industry.”
He said he took some hope from the fact that Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich has “settled down” in his spending.
Tebas insisted that the Spanish league dealt severely with clubs who contravened their rules regarding financing.
“We have relegated teams to the second tier for some of those practices and kicked teams out of competitions,” he said.
Barcelona faced criticism for carrying sponsorship from the Qatar Foundation and later Qatar Airways on their shirts, but Tebas argued he was not being “hypocritical” in defending that deal.
“They paid a market price because a non-state company, a Japanese one, then came along and paid more.
“When contracts are not reflecting real market incomes — as in money not derived directly from football — then we take action.”