July 2, 2022

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LaLiga chief Javier Tebas reignites his feud with Manchester City over Champions League ban

The head of LaLiga, Javier Tebas, wants the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) investigated for the way it has handled Financial Fair Play (FFP) appeals after letting Manchester City off a two-year Champions League ban last summer.

LaLiga revealed on Tuesday that Spanish football will have had around £1.7billion (€2bn) wiped off its income by the end of this season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Its biggest clubs have been hit hardest and ahead of future battles for the signatures of Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe, Tebas was asked what confidence he had in UEFA’s FFP rules.

LaLiga's Javier Tebas wants the Court of Arbitration for Sport investigated over FFP appeals

LaLiga's Javier Tebas wants the Court of Arbitration for Sport investigated over FFP appeals

LaLiga’s Javier Tebas wants the Court of Arbitration for Sport investigated over FFP appeals

He told Sportsmail: ‘If my level of confidence is based on what has happened in recent years, then it’s low. But if it is based on the hope of [Aleksander] Ceferin enforcing economic control and ensuring that the rules are fulfilled, then it’s different.

‘The FFP rules are not the best but I would be satisfied with them just being met and there not being clubs evading them on all sides; that there isn’t a City or a PSG.’

Tebas is a long-time critic of Manchester City and once again he referred to them and PSG as ‘clubs not based on football but petrol and gas’ who had the ability to sign players in a ‘not strictly legal way’. But he quickly turned from criticism of them and UEFA to CAS.

Manchester City received a two-year Champions League ban but it was overturned by CAS

Manchester City received a two-year Champions League ban but it was overturned by CAS

Manchester City received a two-year Champions League ban but it was overturned by CAS

‘Both of those clubs have been punished, more or less,’ he said. 

‘In City’s case, it was a significant ban and it was CAS that lifted the ban. So, I don’t know if my concern is UEFA or CAS. 

‘There’s lots of messing about with CAS, there are things going on when decisions are made that have to be investigated. And the Spanish league will investigate.

‘UEFA made an effort, it goes to CAS and then [nothing happens]. The clubs, and institutions are doing their bit and measures are taken but then in they come and lift the ban. CAS needs to be reviewed and investigated to see what they’re actually doing.’

Manchester City were banned from European competition for two years by UEFA last February for what it called ‘serious breaches’ of FFP rules. But CAS ruled in July 2020 that City had not been guilty of ‘disguising equity funds as sponsorship contributions’ and the ban was lifted.

In the media event on Tuesday, Tebas said he had not ruled out having some fans back in stadiums before the end of the season if conditions allowed.

He also said he was not concerned by Barcelona’s economic plight because the clubs hardest hit by the financial effects of closed stadiums would also be in the strongest position to recover once grounds were reopened.

LaLiga has slightly reduced Barcelona’s permitted spend on their squad from £330m (€382m) to £300m (€347m). Real Madrid’s allowed spend has risen slightly from £404m to (€468m) to £409m (€473m).

LaLiga is the only league in Europe to impose salary limits on its clubs, but Tebas wants the rest of Europe to follow suit.

He added: ‘We have to think about having salary limits across Europe. There needs to be a rethink. 

‘So, a few can go from seven Ferraris to nine, from eight Lamborghinis to 10? We need to think: seven is fine. Football needs to redistribute wealth; that’s the debate we could be having.’