GENEVA (AP) — European club soccer still faces threats from leaders of the failed Super League project and the FIFA president, Spanish league CEO Javier Tebas claimed Thursday.
“The concept of the Super League hasn’t died,” Tebas warned club and league officials in an online meeting hosted by the 30-nation European Leagues group.
The Spanish official targeted presidents of the three Super League founders who refuse to renounce it — Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus — and FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who acknowledged last week he had talked to clubs about new ideas.
Infantino should have informed Champions League organizer UEFA instead of keeping the talks secret, insisted Tebas, who now represents leagues on the European soccer body’s executive committee.
“The danger is not just the words of these big clubs that failed, it’s also the words of the president of FIFA,” Tebas said in translated comments.
The Super League project was announced last month by 12 founding clubs, including six from England, but it then collapsed within 48 hours amid a fierce backlash from fans and threats of legislation from the British government.
Had the breakaway succeeded, domestic leagues in Europe would have lost relevance and revenue.
Even UEFA-approved changes to the Champions League taking effect in 2024, with up to four extra games for each team, put pressure on domestic league schedules in the congested fixture calendar.
Tebas warned that FIFA’s delayed launch of an expanded 24-team Club World Cup and a feasibility study now looking at playing the World Cup every two years also threaten domestic leagues and clubs.
“These are studies that have an objective — we know what that is,” he said, suggesting they include cutting the size of national leagues. England, Spain and Italy have 20-team top divisions with lucrative broadcasting deals worldwide.
“We cannot move towards what they are taking about,” Tebas said. “It hasn’t finished with the failure of this Super League company.”
The La Liga chief executive said European soccer needed no lessons from Madrid president Florentino Pérez, Barcelona’s Joan Laporta and Juventus’ Andrea Agnelli.
“They think that we are totally naïve and stupid,” Tebas said, calling their clubs “complete failures.”
UEFA this week opened disciplinary cases against the three Super League holdouts who face being banned from the Champions League. The clubs have taken their case to a court in Madrid.
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