La Liga boss wants PSG to pay the price

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Javier Tebas, La Liga President, gestures during the Dubai International Sports Conference in Dubai, UAE, on Dec 27, 2017.

Javier Tebas, president of Spain's La Liga, stepped up his criticism of Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday as he pushed UEFA to banish teams from the Champions League for breaching Financial Fair Play rules.

UEFA opened an investigation into the Qatari-owned club's spending in September 2017 under pressure from some of Europe's soccer elite after PSG signed Neymar from Barcelona for a world-record $264 million.

It then completed a deal to sign Kylian Mbappe from Monaco for $210 million just a few weeks later, and Tebas has been especially vocal in his criticism of PSG's finances, while also targeting Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City.

"UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules say that when you cheat with your budgets, you have to be thrown out of the competition," Tebas said in Paris on Tuesday.

PSG has never been barred from playing in the Champions League, although in late September UEFA said it had referred the accusations against the French giant to its financial unit "for further investigation".

UEFA rules mandate that a club cannot spend more than it earns in any given season, and deficits must fall within a $35 million limit over three seasons.

While PSG's case is complicated by lucrative sponsorship deals with the Qatar National Bank and the Gulf state's tourism authority, Tebas claims his faith in UEFA and FFP is wavering.

"I am skeptical. I have to have confidence just now. When this whole process ends, ask me again," said the 56-year-old.

'Most blatant'

Tebas has ignored the pleas of PSG president Nasser Al Khelaifi to stop his public criticism of the French champion and claims he is not simply trying to protect the interests of Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Both clubs, along with other traditional European powerhouses, have been threatened by the emergence of PSG and City with their mega-rich Arab owners.

"I want football to be economically balanced, so that there are no devious methods to becoming big, because this places football's economic structure in danger," Tebas said.

"In this case I am defending the interests of professional football in Europe.

"UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules are there to be obeyed. We also denounced Manchester City and we are studying other clubs in Europe, not just PSG. The thing is that PSG has been the most blatant."

He blames the two clubs for the continuing escalation of wages and transfer fees, with PSG's deal for Neymar more than double the world record at the time, which was when Manchester United bought Paul Pogba from Juventus for $140 million a year earlier.

"If players' salaries and transfer fees go up because television rights have gone up, through money that has come into football, that is normal," Tebas said.

"Inflation is bad when the money doesn't come from football, but from gas and oil."

Meanwhile, Tebas said he is prepared to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if his plans to stage a match in the United States are blocked.

"We will go to the CAS or the competent courts. We think we have the right legally and ethically," he said.

His response came after FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed last week that world soccer's governing body is opposed to La Liga's plans to take the league game between Barcelona and Girona to Miami on Jan 26.

"Why can the NBA take official matches out of the USA, and go and play in London, and we cannot? We are talking about one match with the strategic motive of trying to improve La Liga's brand."

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