Yesterday Luis Rubiales responded to the request from Tebas about the much discussed LaLiga match in Miami, stating his opposition to the idea. He is forced into this position from his role as the head of the Spanish Football Federation. In the same way, it is perfectly logical that Tebas introduced this initiative in the first place, in his eagerness to raise the global prestige of the championship. We are facing a clash of two points of view between two organisations that oversee Spanish football...each one with its own agenda. Tebas acknowledged receipt of the written response but he is not giving up. I guess in the end he will head off to the CSD in demand of arbitration. He is going to have to fight, not only to repair the sporting element, but also with the ongoing issue of yellow Catalan ribbons.
LaLiga before and after Tebas
Tebas is an unorthodox character, one worthy of a place in the monumental anthology of Spanish historian Menéndez Pelayo. Since he started managing LaLiga's affairs, he has made many controversial decisions that have shaken the old rituals of football. This has resulted in the domestic football players increasing their income by around 20% per year; the removal of debt; less current deceit as well as investigations into that of the past; ultras are no longer tolerated; clubs have been paying their tax dues; money from football now goes to other federations and pays for social security of high level sports people; and women's football has been properly launched. There is a before Tebas and an after. All this has been achieved while swimming against the tide, between misgivings and criticism.
A conflict of sporting puritanism
But this situation is more difficult, because there is a conflict of 'sporting puritanism', an expression I borrow from my many conversations with him on this issue. To schedule a Liga match in a neutral city is to alter the formula that makes the championship. It is not the same as swapping the venue for a Super Cup final back and forth across various neutral stadia. This huge decision required a consensus across the board well ahead of time but with his aforementioned successes, Tebas believes he deserves a vote of confidence. As an international expansion plan his idea is magnificent, but it lacked the necessary groundwork.