Players involved in a breakaway European super league would be banned from competing in the World Cup and European Championships, Fifa and Uefa have announced today.
Football’s two biggest governing bodies have released a joint statement condemning the idea of a breakaway competition, which has gathered momentum in recent months.
Manchester United and Liverpool were approached last year to join a proposed European Premier League, which would include the 18 biggest teams from England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France and supersede the Champions League.
Fifa and Uefa, as well as five other federations, have moved to shut down the idea, saying such a competition ‘would not be recognised by either Fifa or the respective confederation’.
Both governing bodies have previously pushed back against the idea, saying in October a closed league without promotion and relegation would ‘inevitably become boring’ but, significantly, this time they have included a threat towards any potentially interested parties.
“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 said in a statement.
“The universal principles of sporting merit, solidarity, promotion and relegation, and subsidiarity are the foundation of the football pyramid that ensures football’s global success and are, as such, enshrined in the Fifa and confederation statutes.
“Football has a long and successful history thanks to these principles. Participation in global and continental competitions should always be won on the pitch.”
The threat of a European super league surfaced last year, as Europe’s biggest clubs tried to put pressure on Uefa ahead of the proposed reshaping of the Champions League in 2024.
The idea of a European super league came alongside Project Big Picture, in which Liverpool and Manchester United proposed to reform English football, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The two clubs, alongside Football League chairman Rick Parry, proposed a £250m bailout for the EFL and a more equitable share of the game’s broadcast money in exchange for the Premier League’s big six clubs being granted overwhelming voting control on important issues.