Super League players would risk a World Cup ban, says FIFA boss
London: FIFA President Gianni Infantino warned yesterday that any players taking part in a breakaway European super league would be excluded from the World Cup and other international tournaments.
Those who might be barred should such a league get off the ground could include the likes of Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Brazilian Neymar, France’s Kylian Mbappe and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. “You are either in or you are out,” the head of the world football body said. “If there are players who don’t play organised football then that encompasses everything — national leagues, confederation competitions, the Euros and the World Cup,” told the Times.
German news magazine Der Spiegel reported last week that plans for a Super League, involving top clubs such as Real Madrid and Manchester United, were back on the table. The magazine shared access to the documents with more than a dozen other media outlets in cooperation with European Investigative Collaborations (EIC). According to Der Spiegel, a 16-team Super League would replace the Champions League and feature 11 ‘founders’ — including Messi’s Barcelona and
Real Madrid — who could not be relegated for the first 20 years. Other clubs mentioned include Manchester United, Mbappe and Neymar’s Paris St Germain, Bayern Munich and Ronaldo’s Juventus.
“We have seen for many years these attempts to break away outside of the structures, going back to the 1990s,” said Infantino. “It is up to us to protect football and come up with solutions that benefit clubs and also the world football community.”
Infantino said the Club World Cup was his answer to any breakaway attempt, presenting it as a competition that would generate more revenues for the clubs but also benefit the football community. Infantino revealed plans in May for a new Global Nations League and a revamped Club World Cup which he says are backed by a ‘solid and serious’ group of investors willing to spend $25bn over a 12-year cycle starting in 2021.