LaLiga president has no interest in meeting with European Super League executive

LaLiga president Javier Tebas has maintained his opposition to the failed European Super League and accused the company behind the project of trying to act “like lambs but they are in fact wolves”.

Tebas was in Lisbon on Wednesday for Web Summit, where new A22 Sports Management chief executive Bernd Reichart was also present.

Reichart was hired last month by the organisation behind the breakaway league that launched in April last year only to collapse in a matter of days following strong fan opposition.

Fans protested against the European Super League plans
Fans protested against the European Super League plans (Helen William/PA)

Tebas told the PA news agency: “I am not going to meet with him. I have not been asked to meet with him and I also have no interest in meeting with him.”

The Spaniard insisted he was well aware of the breakaway league’s plans.

Long-serving LaLiga president Tebas believes the project, which now only has Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus signed up, will look to introduce a tier system with promotion and relegation where a certain number of clubs would remain in an elite competition at the end of each season.

A similar proposal was recommended by the European Club Association and UEFA in 2019 but widely rejected.

“Of course a year ago in April there were many more clubs and now it is only three,” Tebas said.

A fan holds up a banner protesting against the European Super League
A fan holds up a banner protesting against the European Super League (Adam Davy/PA)

“Now you have some federations and countries who have adopted rules against the Super League so whatever they are proposing has to be different.

“What they are proposing is the same as what was proposed in 2019 by UEFA and ECA together. Sure, they will say this in a few weeks but we already know because discrete they are not.

“The same model, European football – including UEFA and ECA – have already discarded. I hope to waste very little time on this new model they are proposing.

“It seems they are putting on the skin of a lamb to appear more nicer and friendly, but they are actually equally dangerous and will cause equal harm to European football.

“Now they maybe look like lambs, but they are in fact wolves. The same wolves as before.”

The Web Summit took place in Lisbon
The Web Summit took place in Lisbon (Armando Franca/AP)

A22’s Reichart, like Tebas, was a speaker at Web Summit on the SportsTrade stage.

During a talk named ‘Football can do better: An open dialogue about the future of European club competition’, the German revealed a new name would be adopted for the next version of the failed Super League project.

He said: “It is very much alive, I am happy to say even if others insist on a different version of the story. We are back with the ambition of making club football better.

“I am not sure if it is called Super League, but we want to bring clubs to a position where they are in control of a European club competition and we want them all together to decide on a format.

“I did say that the first reasonable checkmark could be 2024 because also this is when the new Champions League format would arrive, which I do not particularly like.

  • Expanded from 32 teams to 36

  • Each team plays 8 games

  • One league table

  • Top 8 qualify for last-16

  • Teams finishing 9th-24th go into play-offs

“Apart from there we take it step by step and we have just started to engage in dialogue, we continue to reach out to stakeholders and it is an ambitious goal but it is worth fighting for and I am really motivated to do that.”

Reichart again reiterated the new project would not include permanent membership and revealed he expected to have talks with UEFA, after the governing body of European football responded to a letter from the new A22 chief executive last month by saying they would consider a meeting.

He added: “Why should somebody be hated who says I want to talk?

“As a matter of fact we sent UEFA a letter explaining what we want to meet for. They acknowledged that and sent an invite back so any time soon I will sit down with them as well.

“Both positions are clear and we have the (European Court of Justice) court case (on December 15) which is in a way overshadowing the relations but I think it is good for clubs to also see dialogue is possible even if some clubs are still shying away.”

Reichart concluded: “If I am able to talk to UEFA, I should be able to talk to any club as well, right?”