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FIFA Threatens To Ban Breakaway Leagues’ Players From World Cup

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FIFA Threatens To Ban Breakaway Leagues’ Players From World Cup

Football’s biggest names would be banned from the World Cup if they played in a breakaway European Super League, FIFA president, Gianni Infantino confirmed yesterday, reports the Associated Press.

Infantino, speaking to a small group of reporters at FIFA headquarters, said the governing body would punish players at clubs like Barcelona, Manchester City and Bayern Munich if they left their national divisions to form a privately-owned league.

“Either you are in or you are out,” Infantino said, listing the World Cup, European Championship and national leagues as competitions players from breakaway teams could be excluded from. “This includes everything.”

Talk of a long-threatened super league was revived on Friday when Der Spiegel published confidential documents and emails from clubs and football bodies in its ‘Football Leaks’ series.

Real Madrid was revealed to be working with consultants on a 16-team Super League to kick off in 2021 – effectively replacing the Champions League and outside the control of UEFA.

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The plan called for 11 storied clubs from Spain, England, Germany, Italy and France to get ownership stakes and risk-free Super League membership for 20 years, with five more clubs from those countries invited to play.

The breakaway from soccer’s historic hierarchy – FIFA, the six continental bodies and 211 national federations – would allow officials to ban players from major competitions, including the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

“The idea is if you break away, you break away. You don’t keep one foot in and one foot out,” said FIFA legal director, Alasdair Bell. “That would be the general approach we would follow, but of course lawyers can debate this for a long time.”

Both Infantino and Bell were long-time staffers at UEFA, which has steadily changed Champions League prize money and entry rules to favour elite clubs and stall breakaway threats.

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“This is the history of the last 20 years,” said Infantino, who has clashed this year with European football officials and club leaders over FIFA’s proposed Club World Cup project, which is funded by Japanese investor SoftBank.

Infantino said his plan – potentially featuring at least 12 European clubs in a 24-team lineup, and worth a promised £2.28 billion every four years – was a good alternative to a private closed league.

“The Club World Cup is the answer to any attempt to think even about any sort of breakaway leagues,’ he said.
Infantino insisted while the plan would be lucrative for clubs taking part, it also kept money in the football family. FIFA would use 25 per cent of revenue to share globally.

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“If the price to pay is to give proper revenues to a club participating in a Club World Cup but this allows us to … give $1m (£760m) to Haiti who has nothing, or to Mongolia who has three time zones but only two football pitches, well then we should be I think doing that,’ he said.

A FIFA task force will assess a revamp of competitions, including a new event for all national teams played every two years. Infantino said he expects a decision in March when he chairs a FIFA Council meeting in Miami.
He also believes the latest breakaway threat will calm.

“People are still quite reasonable,’ Infantino said. ‘I trust certainly the club owners and presidents to be able to have a discussion.”

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Atletico Madrid’s Costa Suspected Of Tax Fraud In Spain

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Atletico Madrid's Costa Suspected Of Tax Fraud In Spain

Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa is the latest star to fall foul of the Spanish authorities for possible non-payment of taxes on image rights

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The tax administration accuses the Atletico striker of fraud totalling 1.1 million euros related to taxes related to his image rights in 2014

The tax office suspects the 30-year-old Costa “concealed income” from a sponsorship deal he signed with Adidas shortly before he joined Chelsea from Atletico in 2014

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U-17 AFCON: Eaglets Beat Tanzania In A Thrilling 5-4 Encounter

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U-17 AFCON: Eaglets Beats Tanzania In A Thrilling 5-4 Encounter

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets won their opening match, 5-4, against hosts Tanzania in Dar Es Salaam at the 13th Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Sunday.

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That victory took the eaglets top of Group A ahead of the other clash between Angola and Uganda.

The Eaglets will take on Angola on Wednesday, while the Serengeti Boys will go up against Uganda.

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If the Golden Eaglets win, they will have a place in the AFCON semi-finals, and a place at the FIFA U-17 world cup finals in Brazil later this year.

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Tiger Wins 15th Major Title In Dramatic Comeback

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Tiger Wins 15th Major Title In Dramatic Comeback

Tiger Woods completed an epic comeback from career-threatening injury and scandal by winning the 83rd masters on Sunday, capturing his 15th major title to end an 11-year major drought.

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The 43-year-old American superstar, who underwent spinal fusion surgery in 2017, seized his first major title since the 2008 US Open.

Winning a fifth masters title, and his first since 2005, cemented for woods a fairytale comeback to the pinnacle of golf.  Woods’ career imploded after a 2009 sex scandal, and nagging knee and back injuries that required a total of seven surgeries.

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