Manchester United have distanced themselves from talks over a potential European Super League after FIFA’s threat to ban those involved from international competitions.
After meeting with the six global confederations, FIFA released a joint statement warning that any clubs and players involved in a breakaway Super League would no longer be allowed to participate in the World Cup, European Champions, Copa America or any such tournament.
The plan, which is being led by Real Madrid, Juventus and former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, promised to pay any team involved a whopping £310m just for participating, with a further £213m up for grabs.
United were expected to be invited alongside Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham, but FIFA’s threat is expected to damage support of the proposal.
The next move in this never-ending chess game will likely be from UEFA, who are soon expected to announce their plans to reform the Champions League after 2024 which share some common ground with the so-called Super League.
UEFA’s proposal will centre around a 36-team league to replace the group stages, with teams scheduled to face ten opponents based on seedings. The 12 top teams would then qualify for the knockout stages, which are expected to remain untouched.
The key difference between this and the Super League is that teams would have to qualify for UEFA’s competition through their domestic leagues, rather than be entitled to a spot in the competition because of their bank balance.
There’s no guarantee that UEFA’s plan would be accepted by Real or Juventus, who will have to decide whether to play along or walk away and create their own tournament.
FIFA have strongly condemned the idea of teams leaving the current structure, and their threats have already started to scare off some clubs, but as we all know in football, sometimes money talks.