Spanish league soccer’s LaLiga has resigned from the European Leagues (EL) continental representative body, with president Javier Tebas saying EL has failed to stand up for the interests of its members.
EL represents over 1,000 clubs across 34 European nations, but LaLiga’s president Tebas has suggested the organization has been ineffective in dealing with the range of current issues facing European soccer.
LaLiga’s departure from EL, announced through media interviews earlier this week, means that Tebas will also leave his position on the executive committee of European soccer’s governing body UEFA.
Speaking to the Spanish newspaper AS, Tebas said that in his time as an EL executive member, “I will have attended 40 meetings, and the only chief executive [of a major European league] who has gone has been me.”
The 60-year-old Tebas added that EL has “done nothing to fight against state-owned clubs, or against the abuses of [English soccer’s] Premier League, or against the European Super League.”
Tebas has long railed against what he perceives as the financial inequality in European soccer and has partly ascribed that to the ownership model in English soccer, specifically in the Premier League. He has also been heavily critical of the French giants Paris Saint-Germain, who are controlled overall by the Emir of Qatar.
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Tebas said that EL “is an association that has no influence because it [is not taken] seriously … The only league to have spoken clearly about these matters has been LaLiga.
“I prefer to [speak out these matters] alone than with a group that doesn’t help.
“Being there for nothing is wasting time, and that becomes a hindrance.”
Tebas has announced the league’s departure from EL in the same week as soccer’s global governing body FIFA confirmed the 2026 men’s FIFA World Cup will contain more games than ever before.
The competition, to be held across the US, Canada, and Mexico, will comprise 104 matches in total, a consequence of the increase in the number of competing teams to 48, up from 32 during the 2022 edition in Qatar. In total, an extra 40 matches will be played in 2026 than during last year’s World Cup.
This news came ahead of the FIFA congress in Kigali, Rwanda, with a range of other changes to the international match calendar also being made.
In a strong rebuke to FIFA’s calendar changes, LaLiga issued a statement earlier this week, saying: "FIFA continues its malpractice of making unilateral decisions on the world football calendar, showing complete disregard for the importance of national championships, and the football community in general.”
Tebas has been LaLiga’s president since April 2013 and was last re-elected, for a third term, in December 2019.
In its own statement about FIFA’s announcement, meanwhile, EL said: “The European Leagues are concerned about the announcements made yesterday by the FIFA council regarding the new international match calendar, the expansion of the new FIFA Club World Cup, the enlargement in terms of the number of matches of the upcoming 2026 World Cup, and finally the presentation of a new annual competition for clubs, of which the leagues were completely unaware.
“All these decisions were taken by FIFA in a unilateral way and without any consultation process with many of the football stakeholders and the leagues in particular …
“Lately, governing bodies’ solutions for football solely focus on adding new competitions and on further expanding existing competitions into an already heavily congested football calendar.”