La Liga president Javier Tebas has dismissed the prospect of a breakaway European Premier League, stating that such a proposal is a product of “ignorance”. According to reports that began to circulate on Tuesday, the prospective competition is backed by Wall Street giants JP Morgan as well as English clubs Liverpool and Manchester United and could come into being as soon as 2022.
The EPL would bring together Europe’s top clubs in a single tournament, which would ultimately replace the Champions League as the continent’s top club prize.
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Tebas, however, is strongly against any such move while seriously doubting that the project is even a real possibility.
“The authors of this idea, if they really exist because there is nobody actually defending it, not only show total ignorance of the organization and customs of European and world football, but also a serious ignorance of the audiovisual rights markets,” he explained to ESPN when asked about the reported plans.
“A project of this type will mean serious economic damage to the organizers themselves and to those entities that finance it, if they exist, because they’re never official. These ‘underground’ projects only look good when drafted at a bar at 5 in the morning.”
Former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher has also registered vehement opposition to the plan, replying to reports by exclaiming, “Oh, f*** off” on Twitter. Ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville, who has lent his support to a group campaigning for greater transparency in English football, agrees with his former rival on the pitch that the proposed league would be a huge error.
“The big issue that I have with it, is that at this moment in time, in the middle of a pandemic and when football is on its knees at so many different levels, the idea that a $6bn package is being put together to set up a new league when lower clubs are scrambling around to pay wages and stay in existence,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s another wound for football. It doesn’t feel like the right time to be talking about this.
“The leak probably doesn’t suit Manchester United or Liverpool at this moment in time as they’re seen as the big, bad bullies. “There is a position, potentially, for a new European League and for an amazing Premier League, a fantastically competitive EFL and funded grassroots and non-league football. There is enough money.
“If they can pull $6bn together for a European league then they can pull together £150-200m to save the rest of football in this country. There is enough wealth in the game to look after all the key stakeholders.
“It’s almost a tap-in for Manchester United, Liverpool and others to be able to say: ‘There’s £10m for non-league, there’s a couple of hundred million rescue package for EFL clubs’. I don’t get why we’re not looking after the wider game while having these discussions over $6bn debt packages with JP Morgan. It is obscene.”
“I’m for progression of football, with new competitions and new formats, but we have got to look after the fabric of the game and what it means to the communities in this country.”