FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said that the biggest names in football would be banned from the World Cup if they played in a breakaway European Super League.
Infantino said this on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 while speaking with a small group of reporters at FIFA headquarters.
He said that the governing body would punish players at clubs like Barcelona, Manchester City and Bayern Munich if they left the organised structure to form a privately-owned league. He said:
Listing the World Cup, European Championship and national leagues as competitions that players from breakaway teams could be excluded from, Infantino said:
“Either you are in or you are out. This includes everything”.
Talk of a long-threatened super league was revived on Friday, November 2, 2018, when German magazine Der Spiegel published confidential documents and emails from clubs and football bodies in its “Football Leaks” series.
But any breakaway from football’s historic hierarchy, FIFA, the six continental bodies and 211 national federations, would allow officials to ban players from major competitions, including the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
According to FIFA’s legal director, Alasdair Bell:
“The idea is if you break away, you break away. You don’t keep one foot in and one foot out. That would be the general approach we would follow, but of course lawyers can debate this for a long time”.
Both Infantino and Bell were long-time staffers at UEFA, which has steadily changed Champions League prize money and entry rules to favour elite clubs and stall breakaway threats.