LaLiga president Javier Tebas pleaded for a more sustainable level of spending across football as he refused to take the blame for Lionel Messi’s departure from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi left his only senior side Barca to join PSG on a free transfer after the Catalan club were unable to offer him a contract due to LaLiga’s spending restrictions.
Barca’s salary cap was cut to €97million this season due to a combination of their lavish prior outlay and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Messi instead headed for big-spending PSG in France, but Tebas believes Ligue 1, along with Serie A, should follow LaLiga in keeping a closer eye on finances.
He suggested LaLiga needed its fellow ‘top five’ leagues to stay afloat in order to ensure the European Super League, proposed last season before a swift collapse, does not return.
Faced with financial difficulties, Barca, Real Madrid and Juventus remained committed to the Super League project, even as their domestic rivals and the Premier League’s ‘big six’ backtracked.
“Is the transfer of Messi to PSG my fault? Obviously not,” Tebas said, speaking at the Festival dello Sport. “We need sustainability in football. It is a special sector, football is passion and belonging, but in recent years it has become a business.
“Serie A has been at a loss for 20 years, what matters is the total balance. This also happens in France, not in Germany and not from us.
“What did we have to do to be sustainable? The competition must be regulated by some rules; otherwise, teams like PSG will arrive and invest €400m in a single summer. They have very high salaries; this leads to inflation.
“It is not our fault that Messi has not renewed his contract; we have a salary cap in LaLiga, a rule approved by all the teams, and this is what makes LaLiga sustainable. If there were such controls also in Italy and France, there would be no more losses.
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“The economic solidity of the other leagues is also fundamental for Spain: if there are no strong leagues, the risk of the Super League is always high.
“I have said it many times to [Juventus chief] Andrea Agnelli: ‘Do you want to go to the Super League where Real Madrid and Barcelona will earn more and more than you?'”
As well as the Super League, Tebas is opposed to the idea of a biennial World Cup put forward by Arsene Wenger, the former Arsenal manager and FIFA’s chief of global football development.
The LaLiga boss was frustrated FIFA had not first involved the leagues.
“Football has a problem with governance,” he said. “FIFA wants to change the international calendar with a unilateral decision. This has an impact on the leagues.
“If you want to take a decision with an impact on domestic leagues, the FIFA Council cannot just take the decision with the Solomon Islands voting, too. With UEFA, we have reached an agreement with the leagues.
“The biennial World Cup will have an impact on the revenues of clubs like Torino and other Italian clubs, no doubt about that.
“Leagues cannot just be consulted in the decision-making, they need to be part of the decision.”
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