Premier League clubs REFUSE to let their stars play international football next month in ‘red list’ countries as all 20 teams ‘reluctantly but unanimously’ come together to enforce ruling
The Premier League has revealed it will not release any players for international matches taking place in countries placed on the United Kingdom’s ‘red list’ next month.
England’s top-flight says all 20 clubs ‘reluctantly but unanimously’ made the decision in a meeting and that the division’s bosses ‘strongly supported’ the call made by the teams.
Sixty players from 19 clubs were set to be released to 26 countries placed in the highest category of UK travel restrictions but those players now cannot represent their country if they or the teams they are playing are hosting games in ‘red list’ zones.
The Monday meeting came after Manchester City were said to be taking same drastic measures as Liverpool and refuse to allow their players to take part in next month’s World Cup qualifiers in ‘red list’ countries.
Ederson and Gabriel Jesus will not be allowed to play for Brazil, a dramatic move just days on from Liverpool also stopping Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Alisson and Fabinho from travelling.
Premier League players, such as Mo Salah, will not be allowed to play international football next month if they were to play it in ‘red list countries’
Man City duo Ederson and Gabriel were two of 60 players heading to ‘red list’ countries
Each of the players would have touched down in a country on the UK’s ‘red list’, resulting in a period of quarantine when back on home soil. This would have seen them staying in a hotel for 10 days, and missing matches.
The Premier League’s statement is bad news for Brazil, who will now not be able to welcome any Premier League players into their squad as all of their September matches are due to take place in red list zones.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: ‘Premier League clubs have always supported their players’ desires to represent their countries – this is a matter of pride for all concerned.
Roberto Firmino (L), Alisson (C) and Fabinho (R) are also blocked from playing next month
Brazil will now no longer be able to use Premier League players, including Ederson and Alisson
UK’S RED TRAVEL LIST
Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Congo (Democratic Republic), Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Georgia, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Maldives, Mayotte, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe
‘However, clubs have reluctantly but rightly come to the conclusion that it would be entirely unreasonable to release players under these new circumstances
‘Quarantine requirements mean that players’ welfare and fitness will be significantly impacted. We understand the challenges that exist in the international match calendar and remain open to workable solutions.’
Premier League chiefs were lobbying the Government for exemptions to the restrictions. As reported by Sportsmail, they met with senior figures at the Department of Media, Culture and Sport to make their case.
The Government were aware of the financial benefits that the Premier League brings to the country, but were also mindful that giving the green light for exemptions would undoubtedly lead to accusations of double-standards.
The Liverpool and Manchester City players going to red list countries would have missed up to four games upon returning from the qualifiers – including two Premier League fixtures, one round of Carabao Cup games and also the opening group stage clashes in the Champions League.
Miguel Almiron is among those who would have been forced into quarantine should he play with Paraguay, while Leeds’ Raphinha, Fred of Manchester United, Everton forward Richarlison and Chelsea’s Thiago Silva were also among the 60 players.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s (above) Spurs and Aston Villa also had players going to red list countries
Liverpool star Salah, meanwhile, was called up to the Egypt squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Gabon and Angola.
The Reds have since said they are prepared to release Salah for next month’s qualifier in Gabon, because the country is on the UK’s amber list – which does not have isolation rules for those who are fully vaccinated – but for a home qualifier with Angola as Egypt is in the red list.
FIFA, meanwhile, have axed the temporary rule that allowed clubs to refuse to release players for international duty who were set for more than five days of quarantine, having postponed Covid-hit ties in the past.