LONDON (Reuters) – An international ban on players from the 12 clubs who announced on Sunday they would join a breakaway European Super League would result in wiping out nearly the entire squads of the England and Spain national teams, a Reuters analysis of club rosters shows.
Europe’s soccer governing body UEFA had warned players they could be denied the opportunity to play for their national teams if they compete in the breakaway competition that has drawn the ire of several clubs, leagues and national associations.
England’s big six — Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal — and Spain’s top three of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid supply an overwhelming majority of players to both national teams.
An analysis of squads based on recent call-ups showed England would lose 25 players with a combined experience of over 600 caps, including skipper and Spurs striker Harry Kane. (To see a related graphic, please open this link in an external browser: https://tmsnrt.rs/3ekEH8u)
However, Manchester City said they were preparing to withdraw from the breakaway league, and Chelsea were reported to be following suit, less than 72 hours after agreeing to join it.
The decision would be a source of relief for 43 players from both clubs, which provide the most number of internationals among the 12 breakaway teams.
Spain would be without 23 players who have a total of over 760 games under their belt while world champions France would lose at least 19 players.
Three Italian clubs — Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan — are also involved in the Super League’s formation and Italy would lose 14 players in all.
Portugal would have at least nine players missing, including captain and talisman Cristiano Ronaldo. The Juventus forward has scored 103 international goals and is six shy of breaking former Iran striker Ali Daei’s record haul of 109 goals.
Netherlands and Belgium would lose eight players each while Germany would have seven missing.
Outside Europe, Brazil would stand to lose the most with 17 players in danger of being banned if world soccer governing body FIFA also agreed to ban participants.
But there is hope for players involved after a Spanish commercial court said on Tuesday in a preliminary ruling that FIFA and UEFA must not prevent the formation of a breakaway league and warned them not to sanction players taking part.
(Reporting by Lena Masri in London and Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)