FIFA president Gianni Infantino has warned the 12 teams involved in Super League breakaway plans to expect “consequences” for their actions, with members of the European elite told they “cannot be half in or half out”.
After many years of conjecture, proposals have been drawn up for the creation of a new continental tournament that will deliver a “closed shop” for those at the top of football’s food chain.
Opposition to the sides signing up to be founder members has continued to build, as their actions are questioned across the board, and severe sanctions are being lined up for any teams that take matters into their own hands.
FIFA has already spoken out against the Super League project, with Infantino adding at the UEFA Congress: “At FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove the creation of a Super League which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA.
“There is a lot to throw away for maybe a short-term financial gain of some. People need to think very carefully. They need to reflect and they need to assume responsibility.
“If some elect to go their own way, then they must live with the consequences of their choice. They are responsible for their choice. Concretely, this means either you are in or you are out. You cannot be half in or half out.”
World football’s governing body said in a statement released shortly after Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter and AC Milan revealed their Super League intentions: “In view of several media requests and as already stated several times, FIFA wishes to clarify that it stands firm in favour of solidarity in football and an equitable redistribution model which can help develop football as a sport, particularly at global level, since the development of global football is the primary mission of FIFA.
“In our view, and in accordance with our statutes, any football competition, whether national, regional or global, should always reflect the core principles of solidarity, inclusivity, integrity and equitable financial redistribution.
“Moreover, the governing bodies of football should employ all lawful, sporting and diplomatic means to ensure this remains the case.
Against this background, FIFA can only express its disapproval to a ‘closed European breakaway league’ outside of the international football structures and not respecting the aforementioned principles.
“FIFA always stands for unity in world football and calls on all parties involved in heated discussions to engage in calm, constructive and balanced dialogue for the good of the game and in the spirit of solidarity and fair play.
FIFA will, of course, do whatever is necessary to contribute to a harmonised way forward in the overall interests of football.”
Players from the past and present, supporters and sporting organisations across the planet have been quick to condemn the actions of sides that stand accused of acting in their own interests.
UEFA has been at the centre of discussions, with the president of European football’s governing body, Alexander Ceferin, pulling no punches in his assessment of those involved.
He has vowed to ensure that any player taking part in the Super League will be banned from representing their respective country, while no places will be found for the associated teams in domestic or continental events.
Ceferin has branded leading figures in the Super League proposal as “snakes” and is still hoping to see ill-advised blueprints ripped up as some serious backtracking takes place.
He has added at the UEFA Congress: “Gentlemen you made a huge mistake. Some will say it is greed, others distain, arrogance… there is still time to change your mind. Everyone makes mistakes.
“Football does not belong to anyone. Or rather, it belongs to everyone, because football is part of our heritage. Respect for history. Respect for tradition. Respect for others. This means something.
“The big clubs today were not necessarily big clubs in the past, and there is no guarantee that they will be big clubs in the future. Football is dynamic, unpredictable. This is what makes it such a beautiful game.
“Those clubs who think they are big and untouchable today should remember where they came from. And they should realise that if they are European giants today, it is partly thanks to UEFA.”