Premier League clubs will not release players for international matches in UK Red List countries


According to UK government guidelines, anyone returning from a Red List country must self-quarantine for a full 10 days, which means players could miss multiple club games.

The Premier League says these quarantine measures would apply to around 60 players from 19 clubs who must travel to 26 Red List countries.

Argentina, Brazil and Egypt are among the nations currently on the UK’s red list, which means star players like Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Alisson as well as Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus and Ederson are affected.

On Monday, the Egyptian Football Association said it had received a letter from Liverpool explaining that Salah would not be available for the Egyptian World Cup qualifier in Cairo against Angola on September 2.

The clubs’ decision, which the Premier League says “strongly supported”, comes in response to a decision by world football’s governing body, FIFA, not to extend its temporary release exception for players required to comply. quarantine on their return from international service.

In a statement, the Premier League said “lengthy discussions have taken place with the FA and the government to find a solution” but “no waivers have been granted”.

“Premier League clubs have always supported their players’ desire to represent their country – it is a matter of pride for all concerned,” Premier League general manager Richard Masters said.

“However, the clubs reluctantly but rightly came to the conclusion that it would be utterly unreasonable to release players in these new circumstances.

“The quarantine requirements mean that the well-being and fitness of the players will be significantly affected. We understand the challenges that exist in the international match schedule and remain open to viable solutions.”

Manchester City's Richarlison (middle) and Gabriel Jesus (right) and Ederson (left) could not move to run for Brazil.

The Premier League explained that if a player were forced to quarantine themselves for 10 days, their well-being and fitness would be “significantly affected”, and they would also be “unavailable to prepare and play in two rounds of the match. of the Premier League, a UEFA club day competition and the third round of the EFL Cup. “

Spanish La Liga have also supported clubs refusing to release their players for the South American qualifiers.

“At the moment there are 25 players from 13 different (affected) clubs, a number that could be increased when the calls from Ecuador and Venezuela are announced,” La Liga said in a statement.

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“The Spanish association understands that the world calendar cannot and should not be changed in this way, especially if there are alternative solutions.”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino called the release of the players for the next international matches “a matter of great urgency and importance”.

“I appeal for the solidarity of every member association, every league and every club, to do what is both fair and just for the world game,” Infantino said in a statement.

“Many of the best players in the world compete in leagues in England and Spain, and we believe these countries also share the responsibility of preserving and protecting the sporting integrity of competitions around the world.

“On the question of the quarantine restrictions in England, for players returning from Red List countries, I wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and asked for the necessary support, in particular, so that the players are not deprived of the opportunity to represent their country in qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup, which is one of the ultimate honors for a professional footballer. I have suggested that an approach similar to that taken by the UK government to the EURO 2020 finals are being implemented for the next international matches. “

FIFA also recently announced that it has extended the international break for South American teams by two days to allow the teams to catch up on the World Cup qualifiers.

The Premier League has expressed “dissatisfaction” with the move, saying it “imposes additional international obligations on players in this region, to the detriment of their availability to represent their clubs. FIFA was invited to work with all stakeholders to ensure an acceptable conclusion. be reached on the matter. “

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