La Liga president Javier Tebas has hit back at claims from Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak that he brought race into their on-going argument surrounding accusations of jealousy.
Tebas was reacting to the City supremo’s assertion that their rivals have become envious of the club’s success – to which the forthright president suggested that the English treble winners had harmed European football via “state-sponsored” spending.
His remarks prompted a stinging response from Al-Mubarak, with the Emirati national suggesting there was something "deeply wrong about bringing ethnicity into the conversation."
However, in the latest round of exchanges between the pair, Tebas has hit back at the insinuation that he is racist, claiming ignorance had played a part while flatly denying any racial intent.
In an interview with The Telegraph ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final, he said: "I think there is a lot of ignorance about certain things, firstly about how financial control works in European football and ignorance on regards to financial doping.
"I am not at all racist. I have no issues about ethnicity. How can I be racist if two of my grandchildren are Arab?
“I would be a racist against my own grandchildren! That just shows the ignorance and how easy it is to say things without knowing all the details and people's background.
“You are talking the ethnicity, it's not true. People get confused when I say they are opening up the petrol and gas and finance it like state clubs.
“It's not the first time I've spoken about it - we had [Roman] Abramovich at Chelsea - they had a lot of losses and he covered it by putting in more money, but he doesn't do it anymore.”
Tebas has also taken aim at Paris St-Germain as well as City in the past, claiming they are “playthings of a state” who should be excluded from European competition because of their alleged violation of Financial Fair Play rules.
European sporting body UEFA have also come in for criticism over proposals which Tebas says could place new restrictions on the Champions League entrance criteria while creating billions in extra revenue for the continent’s elite football clubs.
“The problem with PSG and City is they are state-run clubs: one off petrol-money, one off gas,” Tebas said at the FT Business in Football summit last week.
"The damage happening on Euro football is massive because they are inflating the market so clubs have to pay ridiculous sums to keep their players.”
Both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain deny any wrong-doing regarding Financial Fair Play.
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