Breakaway league's players risk ban: Fifa

LONDON • Fifa president Gianni Infantino has warned that any player 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 on Wednesday.

"If there are players who don't play organised football then that encompasses everything - national leagues, confederation competitions, the Euros and the World Cup," The Times newspaper also quoted him as saying.

Der Spiegel reported last week that plans for a 16-team Super League, involving top clubs such as Real Madrid and Manchester United, were back on the table. According to the German magazine, it would replace the Champions League and feature 11 founders.

"We have seen 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."

He said an expanded Club World Cup was his answer to any breakaway attempt, presenting it as a competition that would generate more revenue for the clubs but also benefit the sport.

He added that he has an offer of US$25 billion (S$34.3 billion) over 12 years for that and the Nations League, identified by Football Leaks as from Japan's Softbank.

"If clubs organise a breakaway Super League, it will benefit only the clubs. If Fifa organises the Club World Cup, it will benefit the clubs and the 211 football associations," he said.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2018, with the headline 'Breakaway league's players risk ban: Fifa'. Print Edition | Subscribe