Sevilla have threatened to pull out of their Spanish Super Cup clash with Barcelona if the Catalan club’s squad contains more than three non-EU players. The traditional curtain-raiser between the La Liga champions and the Copa del Rey runners-up (Barcelona also won the cup) takes place in Morocco on Sunday evening. But the clash has been overshadowed by the confusion over which players are eligible, The Spanish football association claimed there is no limit to the number of non-EU players but Sevilla disagree. A statement from the club read “Sevilla FC is surprised by the RFEF’s statement 24 hours before the Super Cup. Philippe Coutinho and Malcom are two of Barcelona’s non-EU players
“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.” Barcelona want to include four non-EU players in their squad; Philippe Coutinho, Malcom, Arthur and Arturo Vidal, and insist Coutinho has now received his Portuguese passport, removing him from the equation. Barcelona defender Gerard Pique meanwhile reckons making the Spanish Super Cup a one-off game rather than a two-legged contest is a welcome development – but his coach, Ernesto Valverde, is not so sure. Lionel Messi is expected to play against Sevilla (Image: Splash News) Pique welcomed the prospect of fewer games – although he conceded that playing the game in Tangier, Morocco, was not ideal. “Anything that shortens the schedule is good for the players,” Pique said. “There are many players who haven’t played even a friendly game because if (they had) we would have had no holidays.
“Every year there are more and more games, especially in World Cup years, so playing one game rather than two is much better.” Pique admitted: “Playing in Tangier means the conditions will not be the best but we will adapt.” Valverde believes this year’s format will make the Super Cup harder to win for his side. “Playing one game makes it more open, as with a second leg you can correct things,” he said.