FIFA is warning that any players who play in a proposed breakaway European "Super League" would be banned from playing in the World Cup.
"The idea is if you break away, you break away. You don't keep one foot in and one foot out," FIFA legal director Alasdair Bell said Wednesday, according to The Associated Press' Graham Dunbar. "That would be the general approach we would follow, but of course lawyers can debate this for a long time."
A Football Leaks bombshell released in a coordinated effort between multiple worldwide media outlets Friday detailed supposed ongoing plans involving 11 clubs, including Barcelona and Bayern Munich, to break away from the Champions League and their respective football associations and form their own league, potentially as early as 2021.
German publication Der Spiegel discovered emails sent by Bayern Munich's legal staff in 2016 asking if "Super League" squads would still be required to allow players to join their international sides upon being called up.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino hammered home the organization's stance Wednesday, adding teams wouldn't only risk exclusions from the World Cup, but also UEFA's European Championship and other FIFA-sanctioned tournaments.
"Either you are in or you are out," he said. "This includes everything."
The 11 Super League "Founders" – Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal, and AC Milan – would each own differing ownership stakes in the breakaway competition, allowing them to reap millions in rewards while assuring they'd be safe from relegation for 20 years.
Their leaked plans, however, generated immediate backlash from European Leagues, the collective representative of over 900 clubs across 25 countries on the continent. Even United and Arsenal, who are among the "Founders", are reportedly resistant to the plans.
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