La Liga president fires back at claims that football is becoming less popular

Kiran Thakare 3 months ago
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Javier Tebas has rejected comments made by the few clubs still campaigning for a European Super League

Javier Tebas, the President of La Liga, has refuted claims made by the proponents of a breakaway European Super League (ESL) that fewer and fewer people are watching football, and that their concept is the solution.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus are the only three remaining clubs not to officially abandon the project, which ended in disaster last year after widespread protest and condemnation from across the sport. Executives Florentino Perez of Real Madrid, Joan Laporta of Barcelona and Andrea Agnelli of Juventus are still said to be very interested in reviving the idea and are quietly pushing to make it a reality.

Tebas, the leader of the Spanish top flight, recently branded their reasoning for such a new competition as "fake news". Real Madrid President Florentino Perez has warned of declining interest in the sport among young people, and used this as justification for the creation of the ESL, but Tebas, among others, has been quick to dismiss this theory.

Speaking at the Sportel conference in Monaco,Tebas has referenced data collected by La Liga which in fact shows the opposite, that more people than ever are watching football. Tebas has insisted that the challenge ahead for football has more to do with adapting to and incorporating new technologies than it does inventing new leagues and competitions.

La Liga President, Javier Tebas, had this to say:

“The people leading the ESL are spreading that [people] are more interested in things other than soccer. This is fake news. People are watching more soccer, whether it’s live games or highlights, than they ever have before, and it is mostly young people. It is just that they use methods other than TV."

“People are looking for excuses to say we need an ESL but you have to [look closer] because this is damaging soccer. Lies are being spread and people will believe these in good faith."

Representatives of the European Super League will appear in the European Court of Justice shortly for a hearing which will see the ESL go head-to-head with football governing bodies FIFA and UEFA.

When responding to claims made by Perez and others regarding the popularity of football, Tebas cited a particular study which found that 60% of 'Gen Z' are interested in sport, which is actually a higher number than in any other major demographic.

One other interesting finding from the study showed that a lot of these people were watching football online on their mobile devices or on social media, as opposed to traditional television, hence the need to 'move with the times' and embrace technology when distributing the product.

Tebas also specifically referenced emerging social network TikTok when challenging the ESL's claims. He cited studies which show that 60% of TikTok users are watching football on the platform. Given that TikTok has by far the youngest average audience of any social network, that finding would indicate that the future is bright for the sport.

He conceded that fans may not be watching entire games on the platform, but claimed they are watching football related content and interest among younger people certainly isn't dramatically waning, in the way that Florentino Perez would like the world to believe.

La Liga Presdent Tebas added:

“It’s true that people on TikTok aren’t [necessarily] watching live matches, but they are watching goals and short-form content".

The European Super League may be all but dead in the minds of the majority of football fans, but the nefarious few who sought to bring it to bear are still working on it in the background.

Fortunately, leaders in the game and statisticians are disproving the ESL's theories and football as we know and love it looks to continue in the same way for the foreseeable future.

Stick around for more football news, and don't forget to check out our legal football live streams - we provide coverage of matches from across the most important competitions in the world including La Liga, the Bundesliga, Serie A and many more.

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