Players and clubs threatened with ban if they join European Super League

Fifa and all six of football’s continental confederations have issued an emphatic joint rejection of any moves towards major clubs forming a breakaway European Super League, saying such a venture would not be ratified by any governing body.

The statement, made by the presidents of Fifa and Uefa, Gianni Infantino and Aleksander Ceferin, and those of the other five international confederations, says that because none of them would endorse such a league, any players and clubs that did participate in it would effectively be football outlaws.

“In light of recent media speculation about the creation of a closed European ‘Super League’ by some European clubs, Fifa and the six confederations … once again would like to reiterate and strongly emphasise that such a competition would not be recognised by either Fifa or the respective confederation,” the joint statement said.

“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.”

Few major European clubs have professed any interest in a breakaway super league, because they are engaged in discussions with Uefa about expanding the Champions League format in 2024, when the agreed football calendar ends. There have nevertheless been reports that the bank JP Morgan had been asked to examine the financial possibilities of a “European Premier League”, a project said to have been initiated by Real Madrid. Then at the end of October the outgoing president of Barcelona, Josep Maria Bartomeu, dropped the bombshell in his final speech that, he said, the club had “accepted a proposal to participate in a future European Super League”.

Manchester United and Liverpool were reported to be among potential participants in the breakaway but they have distanced themselves from it. Ed Woodward, United’s vice-chairman, told a fans’ forum in November that he is “focused on … the strengthening of existing Uefa club competitions”.

Some reports suggested that Fifa, which is revamping its Club World Cup format, was supporting a move to back a European Super League, although Fifa sources said they were baffled by that and knew nothing about the initiative.

Now they have made their opposition explicit, in an effort to ensure that all clubs remain within football’s official governing body structures.