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La Liga “looking at protective measures” rather than sanctions for Super League clubs

Javier Tebas believes threat of breakaway competition has "ended for a long time".

23 April 2021 PA
  • Tebas pursuing protective measures to prevent clubs breaking away
  • La Liga president says clubs have already “been sanctioned by their own fans”
  • Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid had signed up to Super League

Spanish soccer giants Real Madrid and Barcelona look set to escape sanction from their domestic league despite their continued commitment to the idea of a breakaway Super League.

Real president Florentino Perez still insists the project – which collapsed after nine of the 12 founder clubs withdrew earlier this week – was needed to “save football” while his Barca counterpart, Joan Laporta, described it as a “necessity”.

The Premier League is understood to still be considering sanctions against the six English clubs who threatened to break away even though they have now withdrawn, and has asked club representatives to stand down from positions on key league committees.

Even though the clubs stated their intention to remain in the Premier League, the formation of a closed Super League would have immediately devalued the English top flight by removing the race for European spots.

However, La Liga president Javier Tebas said there was unlikely to be any penalty for Spanish football’s big two, or for fellow rebels Atletico Madrid, despite the likelihood of a similar impact on his competition if it had gone ahead.

“We are not talking about sanctions,” he said at a press conference, via a translator.

“Everyone wants to cut people’s head off. We have procedures. There have been actions which have been dangerous for football but we will have to see how it all works out at the end.

“We shouldn’t rush into things at the moment, the most important thing is these clubs have been sanctioned by their own fans.

“Real Madrid and Barcelona are what they are today because of our competition. I think to be in our league they have to respect the competition [but] I really don’t think we need to apply any sanctions at the moment.

“We are studying the situation. Rather than sanctions we are looking at protective measures so that this doesn’t happen again.

“They haven’t abandoned La Liga. They abandoned the idea of European competition.”

The 39 Spanish first and second tier clubs not invited to join the Super League have unanimously rejected the breakaway competition, but the president of one of them, Villarreal’s Fernando Roig, said he was totally against a ban for these clubs.

“We have to sit around the table and talk,” Roig said.

Tebas repeatedly questioned the motives of Perez and Laporta in talking up the Super League and said: “If it was good for football, as Perez has said, they wouldn’t have done it behind our backs.”

The collapse of the Super League appears to have shifted the balance of power in European soccer, and opened up the possibility of the format for the new-look Champions League, which was only approved on 19th April, being revisited.

The format includes some major concessions to the big clubs such as more matches in the group phase and a qualification ‘safety net’ for those traditional European heavyweights who have a bad season domestically.

European Leagues, whose representative on the Uefa Executive Committee is now Tebas, had called for a reduction in matches and for more domestic champions from a wider range of countries to be granted access.

Asked whether the dynamics had shifted, Tebas said: “This is a discussion I don’t want to get into right now because we are coming out of a state of shock.

“It’s good that you mentioned this because a lot of European football needs to be going in a different direction. I think the threat of a Super League has ended for a long time.”

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