Spanish league president on Asian supporters, Super League fallout

Madrid, Jun 17 (EFE).- The inclusion of a good player from a country like Thailand would be an “interesting” move for Spanish football, LaLiga president Javier Tebas told Efe Thursday during the Agency’s Sport Business Days forum.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Tebas touched on the financial challenges facing Spanish football following a year of Covid-19, the return of fans next year and, of course, the unavoidable and controversial topic of the Super League, an attempted breakaway by Europe’s richest clubs.

Question: What nationality of player would you like to have in the league?

Answer: We would like a Thai player. Thailand is a place where we have pay-per-view and freeview broadcasts, and a big following, bigger than we could imagine, a good player from Thailand would be interesting for LaLiga.

Q: Espanyol and Mallorca are being promoted, Wu Lei, a Chinese player, is coming back to the top-flight. Is this good news for LaLiga?

A: Yes, but also when he was in LaLiga Smartbank (Second Division), in China there was an Espanyol following. The games were always broadcast live by IQIYI Sports, an OTT platform with more than 100 million users. But it is good news. The game where he (Wu Lei) scored his first goal had almost twice as many views than the Clásico in China.

Some of the games were shown on regional channels, because we were not on CCTV5, which is the central TV station, but we’re talking about 6 million people who saw Wu Lei’s goals. When the timing was right, Espanyol had more viewers than Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Q: There was talk of an imbalance of one billion euros in LaLiga this year due to the pandemic, what is the balance for this — hopefully — final season with Covid-19?

A: This balance was for the whole Covid era. In football, we sometimes make things more complicated than they have to be. Considering that until June 30 there will be no player transfers, the numbers would be 2 billion euros in revenue losses, but we have managed to recoup 1 billion euros thanks to clubs cutting spending and reducing salaries. The net losses amount to 1 billion euros because of that.

Q: What kind of crowds can we expect in Spanish stadiums next yet?

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