African Football News
Super League: Which North African nations risk losing their stars?
With fifa's disapproval of the new European Super League, several players are at risk of not being able to represent their countries after the football governing body's decision to ban them, but which North African countries will be the most affected?
On Sunday night, 12 European teams shocked the footballing world after announcing the creation of the European Super League, a competition that includes Europe's ‘elite' teams in an attempt to replace the Champions League with a more financially sustainable format.
The likes of FC barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham, a.k.a the founding members, (as we wait to see who the three remaining teams will be) will therefore not participate in the next edition of the UEFA Champions League.
Apart from the 12 founders, five teams will join the league each year through qualifiers and the 20 teams will be divided into two groups of 10.
The top three teams of each group will automatically qualify for the quarter-finals, while the 4th and 5th ranked teams will play each other in two play-off matches, with the winners joining their opponents in the next round.
From there, the tournament will be organized in a traditional two-legged knock-out format until the final, which will be played in a neutral venue.
Various footballing personalities and politicians were immediately vocal about their disapproval of the creation of such a tournament including Manchester United legend gary neville, who's urging people to mobilize quickly.
“They've overstepped the mark. They are scavengers, they need booting out of this football club and out of this country,” Neville told Sky Sports.
Fellow pundit and former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher also had his say on the matter, as he's considering the effect this might have on the historical heritage of the sport in England.
“What they're doing right now is dragging institutions we've seen in this country for over 100 years basically through the mud, burning the history of what those clubs are about because from your own club's point of view,” Carragher told Sky Sports.
“The only reason Liverpool are in this or have a chance of being in the Super League is because they've won six European Cups or 20 league titles, only one each came under FSG,” he added.
Prior to his game against Leeds United in the Premier League, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who previously said that he hoped a Super League would never be implemented, confirmed that he hasn't changed his mind.
“My opinion didn't change. I heard about it first time yesterday. So far we got some information, not a lot to be honest most of the things you can read in newspapers,” he told Sky Sports.
“It's a tough one, people are not happy and I can understand that but I can't say a lot more about it because we weren't involved in any processes, not the players or me,” he explained.
The United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson also vowed to make sure the Super League doesn't ‘go ahead in the way that it's currently being proposed'.
Europe's football governing body UEFA condemned the proposal in a joint press release with the English Football Association, the Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), LaLiga, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Lega Serie A.
In their statement they labeled the tournament as a ‘cynical project' that is purely based on ‘self-interest'.
Additionally, FIFA along with the six confederations confirmed that clubs involved will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level. They also threatened to not allow players who ply their trade for these clubs to compete in international competitions.
This morning UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin reconfirmed their stance and said that the club's actions are ‘fueled by greed above all else' and labelled the idea as ‘a spit in the face of all football lovers'. The former Slovenian fa president said that he won't allow the legacy of the game which is based on ‘open competition, integrity and sporting merit' to be tarnished.
Ceferin then reiterated that the whole footballing community including fans, media, politicians and footballing governing bodies should stand alongside them as they attempt to stop this project from coming to fruition.
He then assured that FIFA's decision not to allow players who participate in the tournament to compete in international tournaments, including the 2022 world cup and 2021 Euros, will be enforced.
This means that many North African players might not be able to represent their countries in the World Cup qualifiers next summer or the finals the year after.
READ: Egypt ‘keen' to submit joint bid with Morocco to host 2030 World Cup
This comes as the Egyptian FA announced that Mohamed Salah was given the long-awaited Egypt national team captaincy.
Here's the list of players who might miss-out on international duty in the coming period:
Egypt: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) and Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal).
Morocco: Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) and Achraf Hakimi (Inter Milan).
Algeria: Ismaël Bennacer (AC Milan) and Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City).
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