Much as we’d love to see a breakaway “super league” featuring the top 16 clubs in the world (which all happen to be European), including Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and PSG, it’s unlikely to happen any time soon.
Unless players in said potential league (like Argentina’s Messi, Portugal’s Ronaldo, Brazil’s Neymar and France’s Mbappe) are willing to risk a World Cup ban, that is.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino told a group of international reporters this morning that, “Any players taking part in a breakaway European super league would be excluded from the World Cup and other international tournaments,” (Reuters).
“You are either in or you are out,” the head of the world’s largest football body continued.
This comes after Der Spiegel, a German news magazine, last week reported that plans for a Super League were back on the table.
This hypothetical 16-team Super League would feature 11 core founders who could not be relegated for the first 20 years, to ensure the most popular clubs in the world were always there to attract an audience, and would be designed to replace The Champions League.
However FIFA officials are skeptical, with Infantino saying that not only is this a pie-in-the-sky piece of gossip that has surfaced sporadically since the 90’s, but that if it was made reality, it would have a negative effect on the international football community, making it even harder for smaller clubs to compete.
“It is up to us to protect football and come up with solutions that benefit clubs and also the world football community.”
Infantino also said that the (FIFA organised) Club World Cup was a better solution for those that crave more club-based drama, arguing that it would benefit the soccer community rather than just lining the pockets of the super clubs involved.
“If clubs organise a breakaway Super League, who benefits? The clubs.”
Where as, according to him, “If FIFA organises a Club World Cup, UEFA continues to organise the Champions League and the Premier League continues to organise the Premier League then the clubs benefit but also 211 member associations,” (Reuters).
Infantino then revealed that a “solid and serious” group of investors were prepared to back a new Global Nations League and a re-imagined Club World Cup, to the tune of $US25 billion (A$34.36 billion) over a 12-year cycle starting in 2021.
This means that The Club World Cup, currently a yearly tournament with seven teams, could become a once-every-four-year event featuring 24 clubs.
At the moment none of the major European leagues, nor European football’s governing body (UEFA) are willing to endorse the plans. For the sake of those of us who don’t think two (guaranteed) el clasico’s a year are enough—here’s hoping they change their mind.