Sunday, June 4

La Liga accused of ‘disrespectful smears’ after Mbappé rejects Real Madrid | Kylian Mbappe

The French football league has accused Spain’s La Liga of “disrespectful smears” and “manifestly false” statements, as the war of words over Kylian Mbappé’s decision to reject a move to Real Madrid in favor of a world-record contract renewal at Paris Saint- Germain continues to escalate.

The chairman of the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), Vincent Labrune, has written to his Spanish counterpart, Javier Tebas, to express in “the strongest possible terms” his disapproval of criticism made of the deal by La Liga’s president.

In a withering tone, Labrune accuses Tebas of acting inappropriately and of making claims that are false and hypocritical after La Liga publicly criticized the Mbappé deal.

Last Saturday, in a statement released at the same time as details of Mbappé’s renewal, La Liga accused PSG of striking a deal that “attacks the stability of European football”. The arrangement, made by a club who reported a record loss of €225m in 2020-21, “violates current Uefa and French economic control rules”, La Liga said. Now the French league has responded in kind.

In his letter, Labrune tells Tebas such claims were “based around your own interpretation of financial unsustainability”. He goes on to point out that Barcelona last year revealed billion-dollar debts while continuing to buy players, and that Real Madrid have “two of the highest-paid players in world football sat on their bench”, in apparent reference to Gareth Bale and EdenHazard.

“In relation to competitive balance,” Labrune continues, “your position lacks of any coherence or self-awareness. In 18 years, only three clubs have won your league, with 16 of those years by two clubs. In that time, seven different Ligue 1 clubs have won our league, while in Germany one team has won the league 10 years in a row this year – yet your focus and attacks remain constant on our league.”

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Finally, Labrune says Tebas has failed to treat French league players with respect, especially those who left La Liga for PSG. “When Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos and others left your league – by choice – last year, rather than acknowledging their [greatness] you commented on their age and brandished our league as being ‘like the league of legends given the age of some players’,” Labrune wrote. “Now your disrespectful smears seem to be directed towards Kylian Mbappé who is widely acknowledged to be one of the world’s greatest players and who simply didn’t join your league, by choice, despite having received a similar offer.”

Tebas and La Liga have been accused of sour grapes but they have received support from other competitions. This week the CEO of Serie A, Luigi De Servio, called Mbappé’s renewal an “absolute evil” and said the football economy would remain “unsustainable” while it was “guided only by the logic of those with the most money”.

Speaking on Wednesday, Tebas doubled down on his position over the deal. “It’s impossible for PSG to comply with financial fair play given their current numbers and the signing of Mbappé,” he said. “It’s impossible and they know they won’t be able to do it, but it’s also clear that it’s impossible to stop the deal.”

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