THE prospect of Celtic and Rangers upping sticks and joining a European Super League has often been banded about in recent years – but following a decree from FIFA, the idea now looks to be dead in the water.
The two Scottish clubs have always been two large fish in a relatively small pond, enjoying a significant financial advantage over their domestic rivals, leading to whispers that one day the two rivals could form an international competition with clubs from Belgium and the Netherlands who find themselves in a similar predicament.
A European Super League would likely lead to an increase in revenue for Celtic and Rangers – something that some fans feel would allow them to compete better on the continental stage – and while FIFA stopped short of banning the league from forming, they warned that there would be serious consequences in the event that it did.
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The game’s governing body released a statement saying that a cross-border domestic league made up of wealthy clubs could go ahead, but “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”.
This means players would be banned from competitions like the World Cup and the Champions Leaague – effectively pouring cold water over the proposal – if they joined a new breakaway league.
A statement from FIFA president Gianni Infantino read: “As per the FIFA and confederations statutes, all competitions should be organised or recognised by the relevant body at their respective level, by FIFA at the global level and by the confederations at the continental level.
“In this respect, the confederations recognise the FIFA Club World Cup, in its current and new format, as the only worldwide club competition while FIFA recognises the club competitions organised by the confederations as the only club continental competitions.
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“The universal principles of sporting merit, solidarity, promotion and relegation, and subsidiary are the foundation of the football pyramid that ensures football’s global success and are, as such, enshrined in the FIFA and confederation statutes.
“Football has a long and successful history thanks to these principles. Participation in global and continental competitions should always be won on the pitch.”