Paris Saint-Germain have entered a war of words with La Liga president Javier Tebas, who accused the French giants of being an ‘enemy’ of football and ‘as dangerous as the Super League.’
The Parisiens have not seen eye to eye with the Spanish league official for some time, after a series of incidents left their relationship extremely strained.
Tensions have been high between the pair for years now, which all started when PSG signed FC Barcelona superstar Neymar for €222m. La Liga suffered at the sight of one of their biggest talents leaving for France, and that nightmare has reoccurred once again, after Lionel Messi made the exact same move this summer.
It also raised questions over PSG’s following of Financial Fair Play, with La Liga firmly believing the French side were bending the rules to suit their spending.
The Parisiens’ incredible expenditure over the summer, which saw Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos leave the Spanish capital for Paris, and ex-Blancos wing-back Achraf Hakimi sign for around €70m, stands in stark contrast to the financial issues ongoing in Spanish football.
Barcelona were financially unable to keep Messi on their books for the upcoming season, and struggled to register any of their free signings for the start of the new campaign. Madrid have continued insisting that a European Super League is necessary to save the landscape of European football, all the while offering around €200m for PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe.
PSG’s financial wealth meant that they could easily reject Los Merengues’ advances and enormous offer, despite the fact they are likely to lose the Frenchman for free in less than 12 months time. They also signed Gianluigi Donnarumma and Georginio Wijnaldum on free transfers – snatching the latter from Barça’s clutches.
So, the financial disparities and friction between the two parties have been bubbling away, until Tebas spoke out on the issue earlier in the week.
Tebas unleashed a remarkable attack on PSG and French football, describing the Parisiens as ‘the league of legends given the age of some players’, while stating they are ‘as dangerous’ as the collapsed Super League.
“PSG looks like the league of legends given the age of some players. LaLiga has young players like Vinicius [Junior]. The problem of PSG, we will solve it. What PSG are doing is as dangerous as the Super League,” Tebas said.
“We will continue to grow despite the departure of Messi. We will work against the club states. These clubs are as much enemies as the Super League.
“Currently PSG spends more than €600m on salaries [per year], television in France will pay nothing more than €70m, they declared commercial losses 30 per cent above the average of others in Europe…that’s not is sustainable. It can’t happen.
“I miss Messi, Sergio Ramos, Cristiano [Ronaldo]…but nobody is essential. Ronaldo’s or Neymar’s departure seemed like a catastrophe and we continued to grow. It will also happen with Messi, I don’t care about anything.”
PSG’s general secretary Victoriano Melero was furious with Tebas, and wrote a letter directly to the Liga president, hitting back at his ‘insulting and unsubstantiated’ comments.
“Time after time, you allow yourself to publicly attack the French league, our club, our players – together with players of other clubs – and the fans of French football; while constantly posting insulting and defamatory statements insinuating that we do not conform to the football financial regulations, amongst other unsubstantiated statements,” Melero began.
“You decided some time ago to put in place a strategy favouring the economic expansion of LaLiga without having domestic financial regulations in place. Now you blame the consequences of this on others, while French football has had a system in force for over 20 years.
“It is now publicly known that certain Spanish clubs and your league are facing unsustainable levels of debt after gross mismanagement, not to mention the way Spanish football has been financed over the past decade – including by the state.”
He also took great exception to Tebas’ ‘league of legends’ comment, insinuating that they are signing old players, while La Liga is willing to develop its youth.
“Now, you are also directly and disrespectfully attacking the players, simply because they decided to leave your competition, while at the same time you have been taking full advantage of having these world-greatest players in promoting your league until very recently.
“Your remarkable comments on the age of these players not only insults their past and current roles in defining how our great game is played, but also the millions of fans around the world who idolise them.”
It wasn’t only Melero that took great offence to Tebas’ onslaught, either. The LFP released a statement on behalf of French football, condemning the president’s words and accusing him of using French football to hide Spain’s own deficiencies and problems.
“The Professional Football League would like to respond to the last statement by Mr. Javier Tebas about Paris Saint-Germain in particular and the situation of Ligue 1 in general,” the statement began.
“The words of the president of the Spanish Football League are not worthy of the institution he represents and which the Professional Football League has always respected. The Professional Football League therefore asks Mr. Javier Tebas to monitor his outrageous statements.
“The Professional Football League and La Liga obviously do not share the same approach to what inter-league relations should be. The Professional Football League does not wish to be the “muleta” agitated by Mr. Tebas in order to hide the internal problems Spanish football is currently going through.
“On the other hand, it wishes to recall that the financial largesse from which the Spanish clubs have benefited for many seasons and which are at the origin of their current problems, are neither its responsibility nor that of Paris Saint-Germain.”
The LFP also insisted that PSG have followed all FFP rules, and ‘have no lessons to learn in terms of financial control,’ while finally urging the two parties to set their differences aside and unite.
“In this regard, the Professional Football League has no lessons to learn in terms of financial control of clubs. It is in fact indisputable that the LFP has played a leading role in this field at European level with the creation of the DNCG which still constitutes, today, an efficient regulatory model recognised by all.
“In conclusion, the Professional Football League advises Mr. Javier Tebas to return to more restraint. Each professional league must now work for the development of its championship and for the common good of European professional football, which must play unity in order to bounce back from the health crisis which has severely impacted its economy.
“The European leagues must therefore unite to face the threats to come concerning the international calendar.”