FIFA to ban play­ers

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

LON­DON. — Play­ers in­volved in any Euro­pean Su­per League would be banned from play­ing in­ter­na­tional foot­ball, in­clud­ing the World Cup, says FIFA pres­i­dent Gianni In­fantino.

Ger­man pub­li­ca­tion Der Spiegel claimed top Euro­pean clubs held se­cret talks to cre­ate such a set-up by 2021. The news mag­a­zine said leaked doc­u­ments re­vealed clubs’ plans to leave their na­tional leagues and as­so­ci­a­tions.

In­fantino said it was FIFA’s duty to “pro­tect foot­ball”.

He also said FIFA’s own plans for a Club World Cup was “the an­swer to any at­tempt to break away from the leagues” be­cause it would “gen­er­ate much more rev­enues for the clubs but also much more rev­enues for sol­i­dar­ity”.

“We have seen for many years th­ese at­tempts to break away out­side of the struc­tures, go­ing back to the 1990s,” he added.

“You are ei­ther in or you are out. If there are play­ers who don’t play or­gan­ised foot­ball then that en­com­passes ev­ery­thing na­tional leagues, con­fed­er­a­tion com­pe­ti­tions, the Eu­ros and the World Cup.

“It is up to us to pro­tect foot­ball and come up with so­lu­tions that ben­e­fit clubs and also the world foot­ball com­mu­nity.”

Der Spiegel also said the doc­u­ments it ob­tained showed Manch­ester City and Paris St-Ger­main over­val­ued spon­sor­ship deals to help meet Uefa’s Fi­nan­cial Fair Play rules.

It al­leged that in 2014 the clubs ne­go­ti­ated with In­fantino, who was then gen­eral sec­re­tary of Uefa, to agree re­duced pun­ish­ments.

City have said they will not be com­ment­ing on the claims. Paris St-Ger­main have been con­tacted for a re­sponse.

Ad­dress­ing the claims, In­fantino said: “We were do­ing our job and saved the sys­tem and we saved Euro­pean club foot­ball.

“We worked with the in­for­ma­tion we had at the time. If new in­for­ma­tion has come out, I’m sure Uefa will look at it.”

Mean­while, In­fantino said the chances of ex­pand­ing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams is “cer­tainly small” but dis­cus­sions to do so will con­tinue. — BBC Sport.

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