'Playthings' Man City, PSG ruining football: LaLiga chief

French champions Paris Saint-Germain, with stars like Brazilians Dani Alves and Neymar, are backed by the state of Qatar.
French champions Paris Saint-Germain, with stars like Brazilians Dani Alves and Neymar, are backed by the state of Qatar. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are "playthings of a state" who should be kicked out of European competition for violating Financial Fair Play rules, the LaLiga president has said.

Javier Tebas, who has headed the Spanish football's top league for the past six years, warned that the two clubs were putting the entire football industry at risk because of their methods and huge spending power.

"There are clubs who could not care less what their real incomes are when they want to sign a player because they receive incomes from a state," Tebas said, citing Abu Dhabi-backed City and Qatar-owned PSG by name.

"It forces other clubs into an economic situation which is really living on the edge. It skews the balance of the entire European football structure.

"This is no longer sport. This is no longer an industry. It becomes more like a toy, the plaything of a state. And when it's a plaything, kids start playing with other kids. You end up ruining the entire system.

"Manchester City and PSG have created (this effect) across the whole of Europe because the rest of the clubs in Europe want (more) money to compete with these guys."

City last week reacted angrily after a Uefa investigation into allegations of financial fair play irregularities, which may lead to a Champions League ban, was sent for a final judgment at the governing body.

The English champions argue the investigatory chamber is mistaken and has not fully considered the club's response to allegations they mis-stated multi-million-pound sponsorships in their submissions more than five years ago.

Tebas also said English clubs would be making a huge mistake if they backed a new lucrative European Super League as it would ruin domestic football.

He criticised five English clubs - City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea - for being "dishonest" because they had not been transparent whether they support a proposed Super League, which could come into effect in 2024.

One proposal could mean the Champions League format is replaced with four groups of eight teams, with qualification based on historical performance rather than results in domestic competitions.

When the proposals surfaced, the Premier League insisted that all 20 clubs unanimously agreed to protect the domestic league but Tebas said that the leading clubs were saying one thing and doing another.

"This is not a joke what is going on right now. The history of English football and its clubs is in danger.

"National leagues have a culture of dozens of years of rivalries between clubs so the Super League is going to create a disconnect with fans."

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2019, with the headline ''Playthings' Man City, PSG ruining football: LaLiga chief'. Print Edition | Subscribe