Javier Tebas accused European Super League organisers on Thursday of prowling like a cunning wolf and trying “to fool” those at the heart of football.
The president of Spain’s LaLiga scoffed at newly announced plans for a competition featuring 60 to 80 teams spread across several divisions, guaranteeing clubs 14 games per season.
He had predicted in November that such a proposal was coming and was scornful then.
Now Tebas says the European Super League is only interested in how it might serve to benefit the rich clubs, with Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Juventus the three teams who remain subscribed to the proposed new competition.
A similar proposal to the latest Super League concept was put forward in 2019, on that occasion by UEFA and the European Club Association, when it appeared the Champions League may become more of a closed shop.
However, that did not get off the ground, and if Tebas has his way, nor will this.
“The Super League is the wolf, who today disguises himself as a granny to try to fool European football, but his nose and his teeth are very big,” Tebas said in a Twitter post.
“Four divisions in Europe? Of course the first for them, as in the 2019 reform. Government of the clubs? Of course only the big ones.”
La Superliga es el lobo, que hoy se disfraza de abuelita para intentar engañar al fútbol europeo, pero SU nariz y SUS dientes son muy grandes, ¿cuatro divisiones en europa? Claro la primera para ellos, como en la reforma de 2019.¿Gobierno de los clubes? Claro solo de los grandes pic.twitter.com/y0IQmLzS6W
— Javier Tebas Medrano (@Tebasjavier) February 9, 2023
A similarly dismissive statement posted to the LaLiga Corporativo Twitter account read: “The Super League is the wolf in the story of Little Red Riding Hood.
“It is disguising itself as an open and meritocratic competition, but underneath there is still the same selfish, elitist, and greed-driven project. Don’t let their tales fool you.”
The European Super League venture is being driven by the A22 group, led by CEO Bernd Reichart, after its previous April 2021 launch ended in calamity and humiliation, with nine of the 12 clubs pulling out almost immediately after a thunderous backlash.
Those were Premier League giants Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Arsenal, LaLiga’s Atletico Madrid, and Serie A clubs Milan and Inter.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta continues to back the controversial plans, which many in the game claim will cause lasting damage to domestic competitions.
Laporta said on Thursday: “It is progressing. It will be an attractive, sustainable competition, respectful of the health of the players.
“What we want is for the dialogue with UEFA not to break, and to harmonise with the national leagues. We must establish a deeper debate to coexist with the domestic leagues, as the Champions League coexists with the leagues.
“All to the point that the promoters of the Super League will have the right to organise competitions. It evolves. It is in progress.
“We are committed to the Super League project and to the sustainability of European football. We cannot compete with domestic clubs, nor with the Premier League, which allocates seven billion to the competition… there are comparative grievances.
“What commits us is the sustainability of football. We are three big clubs and we don’t want to leave UEFA aside. It will be done in agreement with UEFA. We are not going through the path of rupture, we are going through the path of dialogue.”
The Football Supporters Association, representing fans in England and Wales, accused European Super League backers of wilful ignorance towards fans.
It said: “The walking corpse that is the European Super League twitches again with all the self-awareness one associates with a zombie.
“They say ‘dialogue with fans and independent fan groups is essential’ yet the European Zombie League marches on – wilfully ignorant to the contempt supporters across the continent have for it.“