Dubai: Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has called for the Premier League to stand up for itself after a verbal attack criticising his club and the English league by Spanish La Liga president Javier Tebas.
City have just become the first English club in history to complete the domestic treble, and the Premier League have four clubs contesting this week’s two European finals for the first time.
Arsenal clash with Chelsea in the Europa League in Baku on Wednesday before Liverpool take on Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League on Saturday in Madrid.
City are owned by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and the Premier League champions do not have one of the top 10 most expensive signings.
Manchester United have two — Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku — and Liverpool one in Virgil van Dijk. Despite this, they were accused of “ruining the entire system” of football by Tebas, who claims they are distorting the transfer market with their money.
In an interview on City’s website assessing the treble-winning campaign, Khaldoon said he will not accept his club “being used as a diversionary tactic on poor investment decisions” by other clubs.
Mubarak claimed that Tebas has an agenda against the English league and he is being hypocritical if he thinks greater spending power is ruining the game for Spanish clubs and others across Europe.
“There is a clear attack on the Premier League and that has been consistent coming from that way (Spain),” said Khaldoon. “Let’s not forget we have the best league in the world, the most commercial league and the most successful clubs in terms of global presence. That bothers a lot of people in many places. If you look at this season, there is no better testament to this statement where in the Champion League and Europa League finals you have four Premier League teams. I know people don’t want to defend Manchester City — but for God’s sake start defending this league.”
With success there is a certain level of jealousy, envy, whatever you call it.
Khaldoon went on to accuse the La Liga president of “jealousy”, claiming envy among rivals is driving them to try to smear the Premier League champions and the English game.
Khaldoon added: “With success there is a certain level of jealousy, envy, whatever you call it. You know when Manchester United dominated the Premier League for many years, they know what they had to deal with for so many years. It’s not easy for our (English clubs’) competition, we know that.
“The football world is very small and word comes around very quickly so when someone somewhere in a leading position in any club says or briefs something — guess what? We know about it. The reality is, we didn’t buy the most expensive player, the most expensive goalkeeper, the most expensive midfielder, the most expensive striker. Let’s look at facts.
“He (Tebas) talks about how we distorted the market? There is a hypocrisy in this statement that is ironic. Number one, let’s look at the Spanish league, the time of breaking records on player acquisitions, I mean, who started that? Let’s go back to the world records, [Luis] Figo, [Zinedine] Zidane. These huge jumps in these transfers, where did they happen?”