January 27, 2023

Javier Tebas has alleged that Florentino Perez pressured Barcelona to refuse to attend the LaLiga general meeting in Dubai, to be held on Wednesday.

Real Madrid and Barca both announced last week that they would not be attending the meeting, calling it “illegal” under the rules of the league and “completely inappropriate” given the cost involved.

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LaLiga has said hosting the meeting in Dubai is part of a wider push for growth in the Middle East, and clubs have the option to join via video conference if they prefer not to attend.

Madrid and LaLiga – led by Perez and Tebas – have squabbled over a number of issues in recent years, including Madrid’s backing of Super League, LaLiga’s €2 billion CVC investment deal and the league’s management of the television rights .

“Real Madrid will be present via video call, as other clubs have done in other meetings, so they will be here,” LaLiga president Tebas said while speaking to Spanish media in Qatar on Tuesday. “The curious thing is that they are represented by Clifford Chance, who are the same lawyers as before [Super League backers] A22.”

“We do not know [why Barcelona aren’t attending] at the moment,” Tebas added. “Editing is scheduled since September 6. [Barca] would be present through their Treasurer Ferran Oliver and Football Director Mateu Alemany until three days ago. I think they got a call from ‘we-all-know-who’, and got in line… [That person is] Florentino [Perez].”

LaLiga has said the trip to the Middle East will allow clubs to “experience consumer entertainment habits firsthand [the region’s] people, the industry and the type of companies operating there” including networking sessions and an investment summit, as well as the general meeting itself.

The league released a report last week claiming plans for a Super League – an idea pioneered by Madrid president Perez – would “destroy national leagues in the medium term”.

“Real Madrid must have lost my phone number,” Tebas said on Tuesday. “I’m always there, whenever they want, but we don’t do what they want. That’s the difference… They don’t come to Dubai, they act like kids. We believe in completely different football models. Theirs would be the other.”

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