The French football league has accused Spain’s La Liga of ‘disrespectful smears’ and ‘obviously false’ statements, as the war of words over Kylian Mbappé’s decision to reject a transfer to Real Madrid in favor of a contract renewal world record at Paris Saint-Germain continues to climb.
The president of the Professional Football League (LFP), Vincent Labrune, wrote to his Spanish counterpart, Javier Tebas, to express “in the strongest possible terms” his disapproval of the criticisms made of the agreement by the president of La Liga.
In a withering tone, Labrune accuses Tebas of acting inappropriately and making false and hypocritical claims after La Liga publicly criticized the Mbappé deal.
Last Saturday, in a statement released alongside details of Mbappé’s renewal, La Liga accused PSG of reaching a deal that “attacks the stability of European football”. The arrangement, agreed by a club which suffered a record loss of €225m in 2020-21, “breaches current UEFA and French economic control rules”, La Liga said. Now the French league has responded in kind.
In his letter, Labrune told Tebas that these claims were “based on your own interpretation of financial unsustainability.” He goes on to point out that Barcelona revealed billion-dollar debts last year while continuing to buy players, and that Real Madrid have “two of the highest paid players in world football sitting on their bench”. in apparent reference to Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard.
“Compared to the competitive balance, continues Labrune, your position lacks coherence and self-awareness. In 18 years, only three clubs have won your championship, including 16 years by two clubs. Meanwhile, seven different Ligue 1 clubs have won our league, while one team in Germany has won the league 10 years in a row this year – but your focus and attacks remain consistent across our league.
Finally, Labrune says Tebas didn’t 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 considering the age of some players,” Labrune wrote. “Now your disrespectful libels seem to be directed at Kylian Mbappé who is widely recognized as one of the greatest players in the world and who simply did not join your league, by choice, despite receiving a similar offer .”
Tebas and La Liga have been accused of sour grapes but they have received support from other competitions. This week, Serie A CEO Luigi De Servio called Mbappé’s renewal “absolute evil” and said the football economy would remain “unsustainable” when it was “guided only by the logic of those who have the most money”.
Speaking on Wednesday, Tebas doubled down on his stance on the deal. “It is impossible for PSG to respect financial fair play given their current figures 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.”