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Manchester City Attacks: What the Premier League Can Learn from Ligue 1

What lessons exist out there for rivals?

Manchester City Victory Parade Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Attacks on Manchester City have been commonplace over the last several years as the club strives to become one of the best in Europe. From the media, rival fans, managers, and even individuals in exalted positions of authority in the game. It’s been so much that it has become almost a culture that the club is seen as one ruining the game with its finances and the way it is run.

Leading the line of critics for those in positions of power are the Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund executives as well as La Liga president, Javier Tebas.

But the latter has been the most vocal, using every opportunity he gets to lambast Manchester City and highlight how the club just like Paris Saint-Germain, is ruining the game by spending money to acquire top talents.

He was at it again recently after the conclusion of the transfer saga involving Kylian Mbappe. The Frenchman chose to extend his contract with PSG after a lengthy tussle between the club and Real Madrid for his signature.

Angered by the development, Tebas came out guns blazing, criticising the French side for the deal and even threatening to demand for punishment from UEFA and the European Union for PSG’s supposed infraction.

He contends that PSG should not be spending the kind of money that Kylian Mbappe will be earning at the club, labeling the deal an “insult to football”. That the club should have allowed Real Madrid to sign the player instead.

Unlike the Premier League that usually looks the other way when one of its teams is attacked, The president of the French Professional League (LFP), Vincent Labrune, has risen to the defence of one of his teams.

The LFP head has fired back at Tebas in a letter written to the Spanish football president, stating that his comments were “unacceptable” and “completely inappropriate”.

“We would like to express in the strongest terms our disapproval, but also our incomprehension, of your latest attacks against Ligue 1 and one of our clubs,” Labrune wrote.

“We are all the more shocked by these attacks as you are president of the European Leagues (supposed to represent all leagues in Europe, including Ligue 1) and a member of the UEFA Executive Committee (whose role is to promote the collective interests of European football).

“Your attacks on Ligue 1 and one of our clubs, Paris Saint-Germain, and one of our players, Kylian Mbappe, are based on your own interpretation of financial unsustainability and competitive imbalance, which you repeatedly attribute to Ligue 1 and one of our clubs.

“Today your disrespectful remarks seem to be directed at Kylian Mbappe, who is widely recognised as one of the best players in the world and who simply did not join your league, by choice, despite a similar offer.

“Unlike you, Ligue 1 salutes and promotes players in our league and across Europe - including those in your league. Someone in your various functions would be well advised to do the same.”

The LFP chief went on to buttress the point on how Tebas should be more concerned about Real Madrid and Barcelona who have struggled with their finances in recent years, the former having a huge wage bill while the latter is battling with massive debt. He continued: “Two of your clubs have broken a multitude of records in the past decade. These two clubs have broken the world record [transfer fee] six times.

“In terms of player salaries, Real Madrid currently has two of the highest-paid players in world football sat on their bench. Barcelona is reported to have a debt level of €1.5 billion.”

It’s clear that given the enormity of the problems on the home front, Tebas should be preoccupied with finding solutions. But the Spaniard has formed a habit of raising alarm about the speck in his neighbour’s eye while ignoring the mote in his own eye.

However, he seems to have met his match as the French football president is ready to give him fire for fire and set the records straight. The Ligue 1 chief is showing the Premier League how to defend their own against unwarranted attacks by external forces looking to gain the advantage, in order to continue dominating Europea football.

Hopefully the English FA is watching and learning.