THE PASSION of England football fans was the key to victory in the Super League battle.
That was the verdict of Javier Tebas, head of Spain’s La Liga, as he reflected on a tumultuous and tortuous few days which saw the game pulled back from the abyss of greed.
La Liga chief Tebas with Lionel MessiCredit: AFP
A Man United protests outside Old Trafford
Chelsea fans called the ESL the death of the club
Tebas blamed the American mindset of Prem owners like Joel Glazer and John Henry, as well as the sheer avarice of Real Madrid President Florentino Perez, for the crisis.
But as Perez, with his head buried in the sand, somehow insisted the scheme is still alive, Tebas thanked the power of English supporters for bringing the whole plan crashing to the ground.
He said: “We waited 25 years for this to happen.
“Then it came and in 48 hours, it is going to disappear – dissolving like a teaspoon of sugar in hot water.
“I don’t want to say the Premier League clubs were forced to join but they were told that many were already in and everybody was going to sign.
“Then the English clubs withdrew straightaway because their fans and politicians got involved.
“Some of the English clubs who joined surprised me.
“But Manchester United, we know the owner, he’s part of the NFL.
“The American owners have a different concept of sport and feel the competition structure for them should be completely closed, getting more money.
“But that’s the US style, not the European way. We have a different tradition.
“In Europe we believe in open competition and can’t understand a closed shop.
“So the people who were the most surprised were the ones who apologised.
“They didn’t know the opinions of their fans and the Government. The fans have really strong feelings in England. They showed it and it made a difference.”
While some Prem clubs are still demanding retribution against the Big Six, Tebas hinted that La Liga will not impose sanctions on Real Madrid, Barcelona or Atletico.
Nor, at least for now, will Uefa, set to confirm today that rebels Real, Chelsea, Manchester City, United and Arsenal will not be booted out of the semi-finals of their European competitions.
Perez, in a midnight interview that stretched credulity more with every passing sentence, insisted the plan remained alive and was inevitable.
He accused the Prem of organising the fan protest of ’40’ – counting is not his strongpoint – Chelsea supporters outside Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
And that nonsense gave Tebas the green light to launch into the Bernabeu boss, a long-term sworn enemy.
Perez is still backing the ESL and accused Prem chiefs of organising protests against itCredit: Reuters
Tebas, who said the breakaway would have cost La Liga one billion euros or £870m – every season, added: “We’re not talking about sanctions. We have procedures.
“Now we are coming out of a state of shock – and still are in one. But we need to end this Super League talk and make sure it doesn’t happen again. The threat has ended for a long time.
“If it was as good for football as Perez said they wouldn’t have done it behind our backs.
“Perez has been walking around clueless for months. Now he looks lost, terrible. He might be a great businessman, but he’s a disastrous president.
“Last week I told him he was wrong and the figures he was talking about were completely unrealistic.
“They were made up. There is not that much money in the whole of world football for TV rights to pay these sums. It was all a lie.
“Maybe they wanted to take all the money and give us a few crumbs.
“Perez has not betrayed me, personally. He hasn’t hidden what he was trying to do. He has betrayed EVERYBODY in football.”