Tebas spoke at the Leaders Sport Business Summit at Chelsea FC on Wednesday (WFI)

(WFI) The head of La Liga says it is imperative the leadership of the Spanish Football Federation is changed, suggesting it is time FIFA executive committee member Angel Maria Villar Llona stepped aside.

Villar is currently in his seventh term at the helm of the Spanish federation. But at the Leaders Sports Business Summit in London, La Liga head Javier Tebas said change in Spain was long overdue.

“I definitely think there should be changes but there should have been changes five years ago. The continuity of the chairman of the Spanish federation damages Spanish football,” he said.

“Spanish football – and world football as well – need people who understand the business of football.”

He added: “If these football leaders are not changed then there is a grave risk to the business of football – and this applies to Senor Villar as well.”

Tebas was instrumental in the move last year for La Liga to introduce the centralised sale of TV rights.

That reduced the power of clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona to secure the best deal, especially as the two clubs’ meetings are the most anticipated fixtures of the season – not just in Spain, but globally too.

And Tebas assured reporters that ‘El Clasico’ would continue for many years to come, despite the threat of an independent Catalonia.

Some local government officials have pushed the case for the Spanish government to hold a referendum on whether the region, which includes Barcelona, should seek independence, believing there to be widespread support for the cause.

Under Spanish law, no teams from outside of the country can compete in La Liga. However Tebas was sure that in such a scenario, ‘El Clasico’ would remain untroubled.

“In the ‘impossible’ case of a unilateral secession Spanish law does not allow clubs from other countries to play in its league. It only allows one country; Andorra, whose clubs play in the Spanish league.

“So, in this ‘impossible’ case there would have been an agreement so you can be sure we will have Real Madrid v Barcelona for many years to come.”

Over the past year, several club representatives from Spain have spoken of their desire to see a regular season league fixture played abroad, especially as the league seeks growth and brand awareness in markets such as China and the rest of Asia.

While admitting that it was a possibility, Tebas said that the idea of an overseas game was one for the medium term and not an immediate gesture.

“Definitely not in the short term,” he said. “In the medium term, yes it is quite possible we will have cup matches or even La Liga matches abroad.”

By Christian Radnedge

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