FIFA President Gianni Infantino – any resemblance to Dr. Evil is purely coincidental
FIFA and UEFA have moved to block the mooted formation of a breakaway European Super League by threatening to ban any player who takes part from the World Cup and European Championship. Yes, football’s governing bodies are running scared – scared of losing their iron grip over the game, and the enormous financial rewards that such power brings.
It was supposed that FIFA might be involved in a European Super League but instead the World Cup organisers have closed ranks with UEFA, plus the five other global federations (AFC, CAF, Concacaf, CONMEBOL and OFC). In a statement issued today, FIFA and co. said:
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 emphasise 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.
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 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.
This is coup prevention 101. Or, in football terms: if you take your ball away and play on another pitch, we will change the locks as soon as you have left, and there’s no getting back in. It’s a brazen threat, but there is no doubt that the thought of not being able to take part in the World Cup or Champions League, say, would make any player think twice about joining a Super League club.
Watch this space. How the clubs respond will be very interesting.