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Breakaway 'Super League' players would be banned from World Cup - FIFA

A breakaway by leading European clubs to create a so-called Super League "would not be recognised by either or the respective confederation", world football's governing body said in a statement on Thursday, while players would risk being banned from the World Cup if involved.

Reuters SPORT
Published January 21,2021
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World soccer's governing body FIFA says players who feature in any breakaway European Super League would be banned from playing in FIFA competitions, including the World Cup.

In a joint statement with European governing body UEFA and the other five continental confederations on Thursday, FIFA said they would not recognise any such breakaway.

"In light of recent media speculation about the creation of a closed European "Super League" by some European clubs, FIFA and the six confederations (AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, OFC and UEFA) once again would like to reiterate and strongly emphasize 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," they added.

The idea of a breakaway league, as an alternative to UEFA's flagship Champions League, has been floated for many years but speculation has intensified in the past two years.

In November 2018, German magazine Der Spiegel, citing leaked documents, reported that Real Madrid had been making plans for a Super League to feature the continent's biggest clubs.

Although a number of those clubs denied they were in talks, Real president Florentino Perez has continued to talk of the need for major changes in European club competition.

In October outgoing Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said he had signed the club up to a Super League.

"The board of directors approved the requirements to participate in a future European Super League, a project promoted by the big clubs in Europe," he said.

On Monday, Real's Perez travelled to Turin to meet Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, who is head of the European Clubs Association (ECA) which represents the biggest teams on the continent.

Thursday's joint statement also gave clear backing from UEFA and the other confederations to the plans for an expanded FIFA Club World Cup.

"As per the FIFA and confederations statutes, all competitions should be organised or recognised by the relevant body at their respective level, by FIFA at the global level and by the confederations at the continental level.

"In this respect, the confederations recognise the FIFA Club World Cup, in its current and new format, as the only worldwide club competition while FIFA recognises the club competitions organised by the confederations as the only club continental competitions," the statement said.