Diario AS interviewed Javier Tebas, the president of LaLiga, about the implications of Neymar's impending move to Paris Saint-Germain. LaLiga will present a complaint to UEFA in light of PSG's pursuit of the Brazilian, and Tebas confirmed that the organisation he heads will not accept the €222m for Neymar's release clause, if PSG pay it.
LaLiga to denounce 'state-backed teams'
What would be the basis of LaLiga’s complaint about PSG’s pursuit of Neymar? Do you believe that PSG are ‘financially doping’, so to speak?
The complaint is ready and will be presented to UEFA, the European Union, and the Swiss Courts, those are the tribunals that have power. Basically, LaLiga will denounce the unfairness of competing against state-backed clubs; the teams that receive economic investment from countries that gift players to their fans at the cost of taking them from other clubs.
In terms of PSG, it is a clear case of ‘financial doping’, with the club and the state. PSG’s accounts show that they have a larger commercial income than Real Madrid and Manchester United, which is to say that the value of their brand is greater than those clubs. Well, that is impossible.
When will LaLiga file the complaint, and what will it request?
If UEFA don’t react, we will present the claim immediately. We haven’t done it yet because we thought that UEFA were going to take measures to ensure that Financial Fair Play (FFP) is respected, and this ‘financial doping’ is avoided.
I am surprised that the individual responsible for FFP, Andrea Traverso, vouches for the checks that PSG’s losses do not exceed €30m over the course of three years. Traverso knows that checking that data is not the problem. The problems are whether PSG have inflated their income, and checks in to the origins and economic bulk of their sponsors. If they [the sponsors] come from Qatar and they are difficult to explain, then we have a clear case of ‘financial doping’.
If PSG pay LaLiga the money for Neymar’s release clause, will LaLiga accept it?
No. We will not accept that money from a club like PSG that, without belonging to LaLiga, want to embrace the rights of our organisation.
Neymar not as big a loss as Messi or Ronaldo
It would be a blow for the league to lose Neymar, no?
He is a fantastic player, but honestly, I believe that LaLiga is greater than Neymar. With the greatest of respect to him, I would be more worried if we were talking about [Lionel] Messi or Cristiano [Ronaldo].
What are the implications for LaLiga of a team like PSG, from a weaker league, arriving and taking one of the star players from Spain?
The problem is not that LaLiga is a great championship, which it is. The problem is that Neymar is being taken by a financially-doped team that competes with an advantage. The problem is the state-backed clubs, they need to be stopped.
How can these state-backed clubs be stopped?
With the economic regulations accepted by UEFA, that function within the European Union. Can you imagine if a state bought Carrefour to give out chicken as a gift? That is what we’re talking about, clubs that gift players to their fans using money received from the states that supply them.
If this has happened with PSG and Neymar, could other state-backed clubs return to pick off the star players from LaLiga?
LaLiga is positing that state-backed clubs that compete using ‘financial doping’ could destabilise professional football in Europe, the international transfer market, and the competitions. This problem isn’t limited to Spain, or LaLiga, it affects professional football across Europe.
So, where does the €222m come from to sign Neymar?
If only that was the extent of it… and where does the money come from to pay the salary for Neymar to leave Barcelona for PSG, a club in France, where the income tax rate is 75%?
In 2014 UEFA punished PSG for violating the Financial Fair Play with a €60m fine and restrictions on the registration of new players, but the sanction was lifted a year later. Should it have been maintained?
That sanction was lifted due to an opaque agreement between UEFA and PSG. At the time, LaLiga wrote to UEFA expressing its doubts. To be honest, UEFA have not put an end to the situation, and because of that someone has to act. Not just sporting bodies, but also bodies within the scope of the European Union.
Financial Fair Play experts state the the image deal signed by PSG and the Qatari tourist board for €200m per year is twice its ‘true value’, which is €100m. Is this financial doping?
Clearly. It is financial doping without a shadow of a doubt.