Tebas appoints Infantino as puppeteer behind ESL training
By Andrew Warshaw
May 12 – The alleged role of FIFA President Gianni Infantino in helping and encouraging the formation of the ill-fated European Super League has again been catapulted into the public domain by the outspoken La Liga boss Javier Tebas.
Infantino has consistently maintained in public both his firm opposition and that of FIFA to the doomed project and there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that he was in any way complicit.
It’s quite possible that Tebas is just doing nonsense, but some who have had access to the Super League files claim that behind the scenes the FIFA president was in favor of the idea.
Tebas, who recently became a member of the UEFA executive committee, claims to have seen documents which he says prove Infantino actively orchestrated the separation plan.
Tebas unequivocally alleges that Infantino is the person identified as “W01” in the secret documentation.
“He’s the one behind the Super League and I’ve told him in person before,” Tebas said.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, behind it all is FIFA President Gianni Infantino. He pushes, says things … “
Last month, Le Monde newspaper highlighted a document it had seen, circulated earlier this year among club executives, which pointed out that 12 Super League clubs would participate, starting in the 2023-2024 season, in the a new format for the Club World Cup which would be held for three weeks a year.
For months, Infantino has been defending the expanded 24-team Club World Cup, whose first edition is to be held in China, saying it will be “the best club competition in the world” and, according to him, the most lucrative.
The suggestion that some of the ESL clubs have automatically gotten an entry into Infantino’s pet project will only serve to fuel suspicions about his true goals, although there is no evidence to show that Infantino is effectively “ WO1 ”.
Only three of the 12 founding members – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – refused to distance themselves from the European Super League, Real boss Florentino Perez, the driving force behind the failed project idea, insisting that the project still had legs.
Tebas, a longtime Perez critic, says the Real Madrid boss was misguided in organizing the concept.
“I heard the president of Real Madrid say that football will be ruined in three years and that is just not true,” said Tebas. “It’s nothing personal … it’s just that what he’s presenting is another kind of football industry that’s endangering the current one and I can’t allow that to happen.”
Last weekend Italian FA President Gabriele Gravina warned Juventus could be kicked out of Serie A if they do not formally withdraw from ESL, but Tebas argued that La Liga do not. had no “regulatory capacity to sanction” Real or Barca.
“This was said by the president of the Italian FA but not by the Italian league,” Tebas said. “The federations belong to UEFA and not to the leagues.”
Tebas is a recent addition to a webinar panel hosted by SIGA on the ESL project and its implications for football governance. The webinar, part of the “No Such Thing as a Crisis” series, is free. Record, Click here.
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