Tebas fires back at RFEF’s call for resignation

Javier Tebas, President of LaLiga (by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)

The war of words between the leaders of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga has continued, with the latter’s president, Javier Tebas, shrugging off a call for him to resign.

The RFEF on Friday issued a lengthy statement in the wake of a Madrid court ruling not to grant the governing body of the top two divisions of Spanish club football permission to stage a LaLiga match between Villarreal and Atlético Madrid in the US city of Miami.

LaLiga had planned on staging the match at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, on December 6. In a statement issued on Friday, LaLiga said it respected the decision of Madrid’s Mercantile Court No.12, with the matter of whether the organisation has the right to move a LaLiga fixture outside Spain set to be permanently settled in February 2020. The Villarreal-Atlético match will now be played at Villarreal’s Estadio de la Cerámica.

Tebas has been at loggerheads with his RFEF counterpart, Luis Rubiales, for a variety of reasons, and he has now fired back at the latest comments aimed in his direction. When asked if he and Rubiales are simply incompatible, Tebas told Spanish newspaper Marca: “I’m not incompatible with anyone. The question isn’t for me, I’ve never asked for Rubiales to resign. I’m convinced that he’s not compatible to be president of the RFEF, but I’m not the one to ask for his resignation.

“If I got on with (Rubiales’ predecessor Angel Maria) Villar’s Federation, I can’t see why I can’t get on with his. But, for example, in the RFEF’s notes about the precautions of the match in Miami it’s that asking for my resignation is accidental.

“It’s like someone as the RFEF is taking pills to lie, to lie more and better. Saying that the clubs can have Uefa and Fifa sanctions is a lie. It’s not true. The clubs and LaLiga complied by the Fifa rules. But this tactic of terrorising is what they’re using all the time.”

In its statement, the RFEF had said: “The leader of LaLiga considers that he can act outside the Federation, however, judges, administration, etc…have found and communicated that this is not possible and that, without the authorisation of the RFEF, he cannot organise football competitions in Spain. LaLiga is a competition manager that must adapt its performance to the rules of Fifa, Uefa and the RFEF.”

The statement continued: “The attitude can be considered a total disregard from the president of LaLiga for the rules of Fifa, Uefa, as well as the RFEF, leading to an extremely serious situation and putting the LaLiga clubs themselves at risk.

“In the opinion of the RFEF, this attitude is ‘absolutely hostile and irresponsible’ against the institution that directs football in Spain and is causing damage to this sport and especially for clubs that are part of LaLiga that must cease immediately.”

The federation’s statement concluded: “The request to the member clubs of LaLiga to start a dialogue with the Federation is reiterated and the immediate dismissal of the president of LaLiga, or his immediate resignation, is requested. Likewise, LaLiga is urged to postpone the actions contrary to the RFEF, giving way to a new stage of concord and collaboration with new interlocutors.”

Tebas also used his interview with Marca to fire another salvo against the RFEF’s decision to take the Supercopa competition to Saudi Arabia. The RFEF last week announced a lucrative three-year hosting deal with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, estimated to be worth €120m ($132m) over three years (from 2019-20 to 2021-22).

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Atlético Madrid will take part in the revamped event, which will reportedly take place from January 8-12 at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah. Spanish commercial duo Atresmedia and Mediaset are reported to be the latest broadcasters to shy away from a bid for domestic rights to the Supercopa in the wake of the Saudi contract, while public-service broadcaster RTVE has already stated it will not bid for the rights as to do so would be “incompatible” with its constitutional principles.

Tebas said: “The (Saudi) Arabia matter is truly terrible. They’re the focus of terrible (broadcast) piracy for us. I listen to Rubiales’ excuses to go (there) and I think we have to propose the Prince of Asturias Award…to my friend, Luis Rubiales, because the excuses he gives are incredible. It seems that he’s going to solve the problems of women’s (rights) in (Saudi) Arabia.”