La Liga chief trying to block Saudi Newcastle United takeover is accused of hypocrisy but looking at the evidence…
Still no announcement of the Newcastle United takeover just yet.
Latest reports on Thursday claimed it should be announced next week, with reportedly only a ‘few small details’ having needed sorted.
However, there is no let up in those in the UK and indeed globally, desperate to give their opinion on the deal.
On Thursday, Javier Tebas became the latest.
He is the President of La Liga and is radically opposed to the deal going ahead.
Tebas stating that the Newcastle United takeover has to be blocked for two main reasons.
In a statement to Associated Press, he pointed to the human rights issues in Saudi Arabia as a key factor in why the NUFC deal should be blocked.
Whilst he also weighed into the issue of TV piracy and the alleged Saudi involvement in facilitating it, explaining why that should prevent the Newcastle United takeover.
Javier Tebas saying: ‘European football rights, including Newcastle rights, have been stolen systematically by BeoutQ for three years. Now the Saudis want a seat at the top table, forgetting the damage they have done through BeoutQ. If football leagues and clubs do not protect their intellectual property, they have nothing. LaLiga couldn’t be clearer about this, stealing the football broadcast is stealing football.’
When Tebas’ comments went public, many Newcastle fans and others were quick to accuse the La Liga President of hypocrisy.
In November 2019, a deal worth over £100m was signed, whereby the Spanish Super Cup is to be played for three years in Saudi Arabia.
In January (2020), the first of those Spanish Super Cup finals was played, Real Madrid beating Atletico Madrid on penalties at the King Abdullah Sports Village in Jeddah.
However, in defence of the La Liga President, this was a decision (holding the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia) made by the RFEF (Royal Spanish Football Federation) who are the overall governing body in Spanish football.
Indeed, Javier Tebas spoke out about the decision:
“Saudi Arabia isn’t a suitable place to host the Super Cup.
“Not only for human rights, they have [also] been pirating Spanish and European football for two years through paid television backed by the Saudi Arabian government. This business could cost us tens of millions of euros and we’re going to play [the Super Cup] there. I think the money that is being taken from European football in TV retransmissions is now financing the Super Cup
“The Saudi Arabian government has a policy whereby they improve the image of the government through sport, whitewashing their image. We should not forget these things.”
Newcastle fans have also highlighted the fact that Turki al-Sheikh bought Almeria in August 2019.
They are a second tier team in Spain and Javier Tebas is also responsible for La Liga 2 as well as the top division.
The football authorities in Spain couldn’t / wouldn’t prevent this Saudi financed takeover of one of their clubs.
When football was suspended due to the virus, Almeria were one of the hot favourites for promotion, sitting in third.
In the four transfer windows (two years) before the Saudi takeover, Almeria had spend less than £200,000 in total on transfers, yet immediately the Saudis have spent over £16m on new players this season with the promise of a lot more to come, to establish themselves in the Spanish top tier.
Javier Tebas has been consistent in voicing his opposition to Saudi influence on Spanish football BUT the reality is that as a whole, Spanish football hasn’t been able to do anything (or chose not to) to prevent becoming part of the ‘sports washing’ and indeed the takeover of a club in their leagues.
Just as is the case with Manchester United having taken cash from the Saudi government for 12 years now as a commercial partner (Saudi Telecom) and signing a separate new deal with the Saudis in 2017, Newcastle fans are entitled to ask why this particular football club takeover deal should be the only one that is prevented from happening?
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