La Liga president Javier Tebas has accused clubs such as Manchester City and Paris St Germain of “laughing” at football’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
Referring to the French club’s £200m signing of Barca star Neymar, Tebas said: “We’ve caught (PSG) peeing in the swimming pool and Neymar is peeing off the diving board.”
The Costa Rican-born administrator expanded on this at Soccerex, saying clubs backed by national gas and oil revenues were inflating costs for all clubs and destroying the industry.
Tebas said La Liga has analysed the accounts of all the top teams in Europe over the last five years and believes PSG, City and even Chelsea have used their owners’ wealth to artificially boost revenues in order to meet FFP rules, which say clubs can only spend on players what they generate through broadcast rights, commercial deals and ticket sales.
The 55-year-old, who has run La Liga since 2013, explained he has no problem with Abu Dhabi, Qatar or any other state deciding it wants to buy a football club, as long as they play fair.
“The problem is when the income they report to cover their costs is not real,” he told reporters in Manchester.
“They’ve agreed sponsorships which are not based on market rates. PSG earns more from sponsorships than Manchester United does and that’s impossible. That’s financial doping and it’s destroying the industry.”
PSG are owned by Qatar Sports Investments, a Doha-based sovereign wealth fund run by Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the chairman of PSG and BeIN Sports, a broadcaster which has pumped money into French football. Last season, the Paris club had seven Qatari sponsors.
Tebas advocates a system La Liga has introduced, which effectively operates as a salary cap for each team based on their income.
The ball, Tebas said, is now in UEFA’s court but if the governing body does not act he will consider taking the case “to Brussels”.
When asked if La Liga’s position was slightly hypocritical, given the cosy property deals and soft loans some Spanish clubs have received from local governments, not to mention Barca having Qatar Airways on their shirt for several years, Tebas said all wrongdoing should be investigated and punished, regardless of nationality.
“If we have been crooks – and we haven’t – the solution is not to say everyone can be a crook,” he said, before pointing out that La Liga has relegated clubs for receiving illegal ‘state aid’ and Barca’s shirt sponsorship was at the market rate.