• October 27, 2016
    Last updated 1 minute ago

la liga

A top league to watch but the running of La Liga must be better

President Tebas has a lot of work to do in crucial areas of Spanish football

Jason Pettigrove, Special to Gulf News
15:20 October 17, 2016

For some while now, suggestions have lingered that the general running of La Liga could be better.

Timings of kick offs have become the thorniest of points for most of those that attend games in Spain because they are increasingly timed to cater for the foreign audience — China, USA — as opposed to those who’ve paid to come through the turnstiles.

Head of the Spanish top flight, Javier Tebas, is responsible but seemingly has far more on his plate than concerning himself how to get maximum audience engagement for his matches.

Racism would still appear rife in certain areas of the country but, thus far, aside from paying lip service to eradicating the scourge of it, Tebas has made little impact in this key area.

Most recently, he has been called out by former Eibar president Alex Aranzabal for interfering with the electoral process for installing a new chief of La Liga.

Aranzabal, who had successfully overseen the Basque club’s transition from lower division side to top division mainstay — on a shoestring budget don’t forget — had gained enough momentum since leaving the club to be considered as a serious threat to Tebas and challenge his bid to continue in the position — one that he’s held for three-and-a-half years.

However, in a mirror of what happened in the last elections, Aranzabal had no option but to pull out of the running at the last minute, leaving Tebas a clear run at the presidency — as he’d had when Jose Luis Astiazaran did the same in 2013.

It’s left a sour taste.

The process of this 2016 election had been unilaterally moved forward by Tebas in any event and indeed, he had already asked for votes from his member clubs when no one else — ie Aranzabal — had been given the opportunity to declare a candidacy.

Despite a groundswell of support for having the new man installed, statute (passed by Tebas) has made it impossible for that to happen and as a result, the names of those clubs supporting Aranzabal have had to be kept confidential in order to not be seen to be going against the current ruler of the game. And potentially suffer the consequences of their actions.

There are far too many conflictive and historical relationships that will continue as a result of Tebas’ extension of service and frankly, that can’t be good for the immediate and future health of a league that holds itself out as the world’s best.

Corruption is not a word to be used lightly but the underhand way in which the whole election process has evolved lends itself to suggestions that certain individuals can be ‘bought.’

La Liga simply cannot allow itself to be risked being tarred by that particular brush any longer.

Although Tebas has already been confirmed for another term, if he had any decency whatsoever, he would step down again (as he originally had in September), and allow correct and due process to take place.

Don’t hold your breath.