Su­per League play­ers would risk a World Cup ban, says FIFA boss

Gulf Times Sport - - FOOTBALL -

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.

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