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FIFA chief threatens World Cup ban for players involved in European Super League

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(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Players have been warned they will be barred from future World Cups and other international competitions if they are involved in any breakaway European Super League.

Reports of such a tournament involving Europe’s top clubs resurfaced last year, and it was said that American banking giant JP Morgan was planning to bankroll it.

However, the idea has been emphatically rejected by world governing body FIFA and the game’s six continental confederations.

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A joint statement read: “In light of recent media speculation about the creation of a closed European ‘Super League’ by some European clubs, FIFA and the six confederations once again would like to reiterate and strongly emphasise that such a competition would not be recognised by either FIFA or the respective confederation.

“Any club or player involved in such a competition would as a consequence not be allowed to participate in any competition organised by FIFA or their respective confederation.”

The statement added: “The universal principles of sporting merit, solidarity, promotion and relegation, and subsidiarity are the foundation of the football pyramid that ensures football’s global success and are, as such, enshrined in the FIFA and confederation statutes.

“Football has a long and successful history thanks to these principles. Participation in global and continental competitions should always be won on the pitch.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino put his name to the statement, as did his counterparts at European football’s governing body UEFA, the Confederation of African Football, the Asian Football Confederation, CONCACAF (which represents nations in North and Central America and the Caribbean), the Oceania Football Confederation and South America’s CONMEBOL.

FIFA has given its backing to an expanded Club World Cup format. The first such tournament was due to take place in China this summer but has been indefinitely postponed as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, to enable the delayed Euro 2020 and Copa America to take place.

Speaking about the proposed Super League in the Swiss media last October, Infantino said: “For me, I’m not interested in Bayern versus Liverpool, but Bayern versus Boca Juniors from Buenos Aires.”

The president of the European Leagues umbrella body, Lars-Christer Olsson, said its board had “discussed the initiative of some European football clubs to create a closed European Super League for a limited number of clubs similar to those franchise models operating in north America”.

European Leagues president Lars-Christer Olsson says his organisation will work with other governing bodies to tackle any attempt at a breakaway league

European Leagues president Lars-Christer Olsson says his organisation will work with other governing bodies to tackle any attempt at a breakaway league (Jamie Gardner/PA)

He added: “We are determined to protect the existing model and how football is organised in Europe and the way the industry works for professional football.

“All football associations and professional leagues in Europe are recognising and following FIFA and confederation statutes, and this will guide us in our actions to stop this initiative.

“If the initiative is put in motion, we will coordinate our measures with UEFA, FIFA and the confederations.”