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LaLiga president Javier Tebas discusses the European Super League at the Thinking Football Summit

The president of Spain’s LaLiga soccer league warned of the “very dangerous idea” of a Super League and said football must be sustainable as an industry.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas

Javier Tebas, president of the Spain’s LaLiga soccer league, spoke at the Thinking Football summit in Porto, Portugal, today, Friday and made clear his continued opposition to the European Super League, an idea he slammed as extremely dangerous.

In the opinion of the 60-year-old lawyer, the idea, which was announced by a group of 12 clubs in April 2021 before failing to come to fruition is still very much a threat to the European model of soccer.

In his opinion, the biggest clubs, “the ones with the most” want to be in charge. Tebas took direct aim at Florentino Pérez, president of Real Madrid, and a keen proponent of the Super League.

“Pérez said… don’t worry, i’ll be in charge of everything and we’ll have solidarity [for smaller clubs]. But what worries me is that he’d be in charge!” said the LaLiga president. Tebas made the point that if in a society only the richest decided how to run things that society would fall apart very quickly.

Tebas also noted that over the past two years Real Madrid’s audiences have declined, saying that people don’t care for them so much if their argument is that the other clubs haven’t helped them become what they are now over the past 90 years.

Young people do follow football

Tebas also made a forceful case against the argument, made by many supporters of the Super League, that young people’s interest in soccer is waning. According to a PWC report, said Tebas, among Generation Z (ages around 11 to 24 at the moment) there is more interest than there was among millennials, with more than 60% of Gen Z following soccer as opposed to around 50% in the previous generation. He said the argument being made that young people only wanted to follow the biggest clubs just wasn’t borne out by the facts, “it’s fake news”.

Tebas also stressed just how important local teams are to fans’ interest: “In Spain, there is more interest in a second division game than there is in a Bayern - Juventus group stage match in the Champions League.”

For Tebas, the most important thing to be aware of for soccer organisers about young fans is when they become economically dependent, because that is when they will pay to go to games or for streaming services, “before that the family pays, but these young people do follow soccer.”

He stressed it was important to be ready for these digital natives when they become economically independent, saying it was vital to have interactive products ready for them where they consume content, including streaming services and social media.

Tebas on the Qatar World Cup

Regarding the decision to play the World Cup in Qatar, the LaLiga president offered up an anecdote: “It was only two years after awarding the World Cup to Qatar that they realised it was hot in the summer there. They took two years to realise! It was all decided in a very strange way.” He also pointed out that his organisation took FIFA to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in a bid to stop the World Cup dates being moved to the autumn, dividing the European soccer season in two.

As to the proposed Portugal - Spain joint bid for a World Cup in Spain, Tebas said “LaLiga’s stadium’s would be ready, without requiring any public money, thanks to the investment from CVC. That public money is for health care and education. Soccer generates a lot of money. LaLiga will work to make this a success.”


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