Fifa, international soccer’s governing body, dealt a blow to hopes for a new European ‘super league’, warning players that entering the new competition would bar them from playing in some of the most prestigious competitions, such as the World Cup.

“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 the Six Confederations, a website statement says.

The red flag from Fifa comes after recent reports that top European soccer teams were homing in on a new ‘super league’, which organisers are hoping will include the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus, Bloomberg reported earlier in January. The league has instructed JPMorgan Chase  to assemble the debt finance for the project.

Gianni Infantino’s Fifa has reiterated that any competition such as the one being envisioned would not be recognised. The confederations recognise the Fifa Club World Cup as the only worldwide club competition, Fifa says, adding it in turn recognises the club competitions organised by the confederations as the only club continental competitions.

A new tournament would compete with the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s top club soccer competition, which is among the most-popular sporting events worldwide.

The super league is offering certain big clubs “permanent” membership, according to sources close to the project. This would guarantee them revenues, unlike current competitions which clubs have to qualify for and can currently miss out on.

Fifa’s statement says the principles of “sporting merit, solidarity, promotion and relegation”, are the foundation that ensures soccer’s global success, in a swipe at the rumoured plans.

“The bigger clubs are using the threat of a Super League to get UEFA and Fifa to come up with changes to existing competitions that will guarantee them more certainty and a greater proportion of revenues,” says Kieran Maguire, a football finance lecturer at the University of Liverpool.


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