La Liga's Tebas 'very happy' with Premier League link

Macau (AFP) –


La Liga president Javier Tebas told AFP he was flattered to be linked with the English Premier League's chief executive position as speculation swirls over the role.

Tebas, Spanish league chief since 2013, said he was "very happy" after reports named him as a possible successor to Richard Scudamore, who announced his departure last year.

"I'm very happy that a competition like the Premier League thinks of me to be their CEO," Tebas said at the Sportel sport-business convention in Macau.

When asked if he intended to quit La Liga for England, the 56-year-old said: "No comment."

The Premier League is still searching for its next chief executive after Scudamore's announced successor, TV executive Susanna Dinnage, rejected the appointment in December.

The Premier League grew to become a global phenomenon under Scudamore, generating a record £5.5 billion ($7.3 billion) in the 2016/17 season, according to analysts Deloitte -- 86 percent more than La Liga.

Tebas also said La Liga was working to schedule Espanyol games at suitable times for Chinese audiences, following the arrival of China star Wu Lei.

He said Espanyol's last game, when Wu scored his first goal for the club, had twice as many streaming viewers as the Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

"We have a strategy with Espanyol on social media, we're working with them closely with the times of their games, so they can be watched in China," he said.

"It's very important to have global players in our competition, to grow the brand of the club and the league," Tebas added.

"But we need to use this not only during the game, but the whole week. So we have to keep working during the whole week to increase the brand and the presence of the club and the league."

Costa Rican-born Tebas insisted La Liga had seen no drop-off in viewers since Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus this season, and said strategies were in place to absorb the eventual departure of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

"We've been working many years in case any star leaves the competition, so it doesn't have any impact on the competition," he said.

"This is an example of it. Ronaldo has left and no impact on the competition, followers or anything."

Tebas added: "We know Messi can't go on forever, so we are working to be prepared for that day, to be in the best position to face that problem."