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HomeSportKylian Mbappe: Ligue 1 chairman hits out at LaLiga president Javier Tebas...

Kylian Mbappe: Ligue 1 chairman hits out at LaLiga president Javier Tebas for complaining over striker’s new PSG contract

The chairman of the French top-flight has hit out at LaLiga president Javier Tebas for describing Kylian Mbappe’s new Paris Saint-Germain contract as "an insult to football" – by branding his complaints as "disrespectful smears".

Mbappe signed a new three-year contract at PSG earlier this month, thereby rejecting an approach from Spanish side Real Madrid, who were preparing to offer the French World Cup winner a package that totalled an investment of £300m.

The 22-year-old’s new contract at the French club prompted a furious response from La Liga and their president Tebas, who announced last week they are filing a complaint to UEFA, tax authorities in France and the European Union over PSG’s "non-compliance with UEFA’s financial fair play".

Now French football chief Vincent Labrune, president of the French Professional League (LFP), has issued a fierce attack on Tebas’ argument, in which he also hit out at the recent actions of Spanish super-clubs Real Madrid and Barcelona. Labrune also urged Tebas to "treat players in our league and across Europe with respect".

"Two our your clubs – Real Madrid and Barcelona – have broken a multitude of records in the past decade," an extract of the letter read. "In terms of transfer fees, these two clubs have broken the world record six times. In terms of player salaries, Real Madrid currently has two of the highest-paid players in the world sat on their bench.

"In terms of debt, Barcelona is reported to have a debt level of €1.5billion, and this is despite the European Court of Justice finding that Real Madrid and Barcelona benefited from illegal state aid.

"The fact that you publicly and repeatedly take this position against Ligue 1 on this topic and denigrate our league and our clubs is both unacceptable and manifestly false.

"It is also not lost on anyone that the pinnacle of competitive imbalance was the recent breakaway European Super League – founded and still maintained by your two clubs."

Labrune also referenced the fact that former Spanish-based players Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos both left LaLiga last summer, thereby joining Mbappe in choosing France over Tebas’ league.

The French football chief condemned Tebas’ reaction to Messi and Ramos leaving and says his own country’s top-flight would have never disrespected departing players in that manner.

The letter continued: "When Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos and others left your league – by choice – last year, rather than acknowledging their greatest (which you had weeks prior to their departure) you commented on their age and brandished our league as being ‘like the league of legends given the age of the players’.

"Now your disrespectful smears seem to be directed towards Kylian Mbappe who is widely acknowledged to be one of the world’s greatest players and simply didn’t join your league, by choice, despite having received a similar offer. Unlike you, Ligue 1 lauds and promotes players both in our league and across Europe – including those in your league."

LaLiga’s fury over Mbappe contract

News of Mbappe’s new contract was met with a vociferous response from Spanish football authorities, with LaLiga announcing they will complain over PSG’s alleged actions in a statement on May 21.

The statement read: "This type of agreement attacks the economic sustainability of European football, putting at risk hundreds of thousands of jobs and sporting integrity at risk – not only in European competitions, but also in domestic leagues.

"It is scandalous a club like PSG, which last season reported losses of more than €220m, after accumulating losses of more than €700m in prior seasons (while reporting sponsorship income at a doubtful valuation) with a cost of sports staff around €650m for this 2021-22 season, can face an agreement of these characteristics while those clubs that could accept the arrival of the player without seeing their wage bill compromised, are left without being able to sign him.

"For all of the above, LaLiga is going to file a complaint against PSG before UEFA, administrative and tax authorities in France and before the competent bodies of the European Union, to continue defending the economic ecosystem of European football and its sustainability."

The statement concluded the behaviour of PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and his club "endangers European football on the same level as the European Super League".

Earlier this week, Tebas confirmed that the complaint to UEFA was going to be lodged by Friday.

"We are working with a French law firm to initiate legal action in France and in the European Union," Tebas revealed at an event on Wednesday.

"We are also going to report the matter to UEFA before Friday. It is impossible for PSG to comply with current Financial Fair Play rules given what they’ll pay for Mbappe.

"It is already clear that they’re going to pass the limits. So, let’s see what happens, although, of course, it is impossible now to stop the renewal of Mbappe."

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi made his own personal response to Tebas’ complaints in a press conference on Tuesday, where Mbappe was present.

"Maybe he is afraid that Ligue 1 is better than LaLiga," the PSG chief said. "LaLiga is not the same as it was three or four years ago. I have respect for all the clubs, but we need respect too. Respect is crucial."

Ligue 1’s response to LaLiga in full

Dear Mr Tebas,

We refer to your letter dated 21st May 2022 that you decided to make public.

We want to express in the strongest possible terms our disapproval, and also our incomprehension, of your latest attacks against Ligue 1 and one of our clubs.

We are all the more shocked that you are making these attacks given your capacity as president of the European Leagues (which is supposed to represent all leagues of Europe including Ligue 1) and a UEFA executive committee member (whose role is to promote the collective interests of European football).

It is difficult to follow the factual substance of your letter, and what relevance the renewal of a player’s contract with a club in another league has to La Liga. Your attacks on Ligue 1 and one of our clubs Paris Saint-Germain and one of our players Kylian Mbappe are based around your own interpretation of financial unsustainability and competitive imbalance, which you repeatedly attribute to Ligue 1 and one of our clubs.

First, in relation to financial stability and sustainability, two of your clubs – Real Madrid and Barcelona – have broken a multitude of records in the past decade. In terms of transfer fees, these two clubs have broken the world record six times. In terms of player salaries, Real Madrid currently has two of the highest-paid players in world football sat on their bench.

"Barcelona is reported to have a debt level of €1.5 billion, and this is despite the European Court of Justice finding that Real Madrid and Barcelona benefitted from illegal state aid. Over the past ten years, La Liga has spent +32% more on players than Ligue 1; and significantly more on foreign players outside your own league compared to Ligue 1.

The fact that you publicly and repeatedly take this position against Ligue 1 on this topic and denigrate our league and our clubs is both unacceptable and manifestly false. The fact that you do this in your capacity of President of the European Leagues – which represents Ligue 1 – is not only conflicted (a topic on which you are also vocal against others) but also completely inappropriate.

Second, in relation to competitive balance, your position lacks of any coherence or self-awareness. In recent years, Barcelona and Real Madrid won 7 out of 9 Champions League finals in a row. In 18 years, only 3 clubs have won your league with 15 of those years by two clubs. In that time, 7 different Ligue 1 clubs have won our league, while in Germany one team has won the league 10 years in a row this year – yet your focus and attacks remain constant on our league. On the theme of competitive imbalance, I note that you fail to mention the significant tax and social security differential that French clubs are heavily penalised on compared to your clubs. It is also not lost on anyone that the pinnacle of competitive imbalance was the recent breakaway European Super League – founded and still maintained by your two clubs.

Finally, one final comment would be a simple request to treat players in our league and across Europe with respect. When Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos and others left your league – by choice – last year, rather than acknowledging their greatest (which you had weeks prior to their departure) you commented on their age and brandished our league as being ‘like the league of legends given the age of the players’.

Now your disrespectful smears seem to be directed towards Kylian Mbappe who is widely acknowledged to be one of the world’s greatest players and simply didn’t join your league, by choice, despite having received a similar offer. Unlike you, Ligue 1 lauds and promotes players both in our league and across Europe – including those in your league.

Someone in your various positions might be wise to consider the same.

On our end, we are pleased and proud that Ligue 1 has received a multitude of supportive calls from other leagues, clubs and European football stakeholders following your letter..

Sincerely,

Vincent Labrune

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