La Liga president Javier Tebas says the league is “on top of” match-fixing after a number of players and club executives were arrested.

At least three matches are being investigated across Spain’s top three divisions following a complaint made over a game in May 2018.

Tebas, 56, says match-fixing exists but that it is not widespread in La Liga.

“It’s impossible that it would be like a monastery, that everyone are monks, that nothing ever happens,” he said.

“We are convinced because we work a lot on this issue.

“We have intelligence teams that are investigating it. In professional football we have very little in terms of match-fixing.”

Tebas said it is important to minimise match-fixing, and that he is “surprised” La Liga is the only competition affected by the allegations.

“What I find strange is that it doesn’t exist in other places – that nobody thinks there is a network, even a very small one, of match-fixing,” he said.

‘Anyone who knows me knows I am not racist’

This month, Tebas said Manchester City, backed by the Abu Dhabi United Group, and Paris St-Germain, owned by Qatar Sports Investments, were the “playthings of a state” and should be kicked out of the Champions League over their methods and spending powers.

City have been referred to Uefa’s financial body amid allegations of Financial Fair Play (FFP) rule breaches, which the club strenuously deny.

City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said some of City’s rivals are jealous and that there is “something deeply wrong in bringing ethnicity into the conversation”.

Tebas responded: “Anyone who knows me knows perfectly that I am not racist. Two of my grandchildren are Arabic, and one is called Nasser.”

Tebas said he wants Uefa to change the way it deals with FFP, responding to issues more quickly and ensuring it is “not subjected to external pressures”.

All four finalists in the European cups this season are English – Chelsea beat Arsenal in the Europa League on Wednesday and Liverpool face Tottenham in the Champions League on Saturday.

But Tebas said: “You cannot say that there was an overwhelming superiority from the Premier League teams.

“The Premier League this year is where it should have been years ago. We should have been asking before why they were not among the finalists.”

Changes to European structure ‘will not happen’

Uefa has been criticised since announcing plans to reform club football from 2024, proposing – alongside the European Club Association (ECA) – a European football pyramid with promotion and relegation to the Champions League.

Tebas said he is against the changes, which he described as “toxic and detrimental to European football”, and he will take legal action to stop them.

“That is what the courts are for,” he said. “When one does not agree and thinks that an illegality is being committed, the courts are there.

“I don’t think it is going to happen. In La Liga, except for two clubs, we are against this type of format.

“It will be difficult to start a type of format that goes against the big leagues in Europe, and even many smaller and medium leagues are against this type of format.”

Under the proposals, a top tier of European competition would include 32 teams split into four groups of eight.

The top 24 teams would keep their places for the following season, ending the tradition that qualifying for Europe is achieved via national leagues. Only four places would be open to the winners of Europe’s 54 national leagues.

“It is true that you can make more money, but it is not because there is new money but because you are taking it away from all the national leagues,” said Tebas.

“Part of it would go only to those 18 or 20 privileged clubs in Europe and the rest would not have that income any more.

“But then, in the medium and long term they [the privileged clubs] are also going to lose.

“There will not be changes. People think change is always for the better. What they want to change now is growing some to damage the rest.”


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