Sevilla have announced that they are considering legal action against the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) after the body decided to allow all non-EU players to feature in the upcoming Super Cup final.
The La Liga club reacted angrily to news that will grant opponents Barcelona the opportunity to pick a host of otherwise ineligible stars in their squad – and also suggested they may withdraw from the match.
Spanish domestic competition rules currently dictate that only three non-EU players can be picked by clubs as part of any match-day group.
That would have meant tough decisions for Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde over the likes of Philippe Coutinho and new signings Arturo Vidal (Chile), Malcom and Arthur Melo (both Brazil).
And with the two clubs due to meet on Sunday in Tangier, Morocco, in the Spanish season curtain raiser, Sevilla slammed the ‘surprising’ decision on their social media accounts.
‘Sevilla FC are surprised by the RFEF’s statement 24 hours before the Super Cup,’ they wrote.
‘It has stated that as many non-EU players as desired can be registered, despite the fact that in their last notice for the 18/19 season, only three were due to be permitted, without exception.
‘The club’s legal department is studying the matter and should FC Barcelona submit a team with more than three non-EU players, it would present possible ground for withdrawal on account of an improper line-up.’
Following the summer signings of Vidal, Malcom and Arthur, Barcelona’s work-around plan is for Coutinho to eventually switch to Portuguese registration, taking him out of the non-EU category.
Coutinho’s wife, Aine, is Portuguese and the player is able to register as a Portuguese citizen after three years of marriage.
It is the same method of nationality change that Luis Suarez undertook in 2014, shortly after joining the club.
Suarez is married to an Italian, Sofia Balbi, and the Uruguayan was able to get Italian citizenship and free up a non-EU space in Barca’s squad to help comply with the stringent rules.