Any prospect of Celtic and other Scottish clubs breaking away into an Atlantic League looks to have been thrown into doubt by FIFA today.
The official international governing body released a statement this afternoon covering the prospect of teams leaving and forming alternative competitions. This comes in the wake of reports of a meeting between Juventus and Real Madrid chiefs regarding a breakaway Euro Super League (La Stampa).
They stated that any such competition would not be recognised by FIFA or UEFA. They also say that any competition must be “organised or recognised by the relevant body at their respective level”. Yet the statement stopped short of delving into a debate on domestic leagues. But it seemed like an ominous warning.
This comes after Dave Cormack urged Celtic to reconsider a proposal on a potential new Atlantic League setup. This was to involve clubs from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, and Scotland. Cormack confirmed Celtic had pulled out of the idea, but told the Daily Mail the following back in December:
“The point is that it’s okay to have these conversations. But we never have them in Scotland and when there is a lack of money around. For me, it’s certainly worth a discussion.”
FIFA need to make their stance clear on breakaway leagues; Celtic need to look at their options
The Times reported back in November that Celtic were instead eyeing up a British League opportunity over an Atlantic one. It would remain to be seen what FIFA and UEFA’s opinions on that would be also.
The two bodies would need to recognise any competition set-up that saw clubs split from their own domestic leagues. That looks like it could be a problem. After all, there would have to be a route to qualify for major European competitions.
Players simply won’t want to play in a league such as the Atlantic League if there’s no carrot to meet the world’s best sides in European competition.
Yet FIFA has left its stance on domestic league breakaways unclear here. It’s difficult to know whether their anger towards international club competitions extends to potential new international leagues that would replace domestic set-ups. Even so, this statement looks worrying for pro-Atlantic League backers.
And given FIFA has claimed players involved in these competitions won’t partake in official FIFA/UEFA recognised competitions, that would rule anyone involved in them out of competing at the World Cup for example.
It’s difficult to get too excited about any prospect of the Atlantic League after this. FIFA aren’t playing around here, and Cormack should be concerned with today’s news.