Football

Nearly 60 players from 19 Premier League clubs to miss international matches due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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Premier League on clubs will not release players for international matches played in red-list countries next month. The premier league announced on Tuesday.

Players who travelled to red-list countries would have to follow UK coronavirus quarantine regulations, which would rule them out of several of their club’s matches, as a consequence, the league has revealed a ban for September fixtures.

On Monday, the Egyptian Football Association announced, that Liverpool would not release Mohamed Salah for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Angola and Gabon due to the quarantine rules.

Africa is not the only continent to suffer this fate, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino and Alisson Becker are also not going to be released for Brazil’s three upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

The reason for Liverpool’s decision is both Egypt and Brazil are on the UK Government’s red list, with “mandatory isolation for 10 days” for travellers returning from those countries.

A premier league statement reads. “Premier League clubs have today reluctantly but unanimously decided not to release players for international matches played in red-list countries next month,”

“The clubs’ decision: which is strongly supported by the Premier League, will apply to nearly 60 players from 19 Premier League clubs, who are due to travel to 26 red-list countries in the September international window.”

“This follows FIFA’s current position not to extend its temporary release exception for players required to quarantine on their return from international duty.”

The problem was exacerbated by the recent decision of world governing body FIFA to extend the September and October international windows in South America by two days to catch up on postponed fixtures.

A potential solution would have been for the British Government to grant quarantine exemptions for players.

Discussions were held between football authorities and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport but a relaxation of rules was not considered.

The Government did not feel it could make allowances for footballers as it seeks to protect public health.

Last season, FIFA granted clubs dispensation not to release players where quarantine was an issue.

“Extensive discussions have taken place with both The FA and the Government to find a solution, but due to ongoing public health concerns relating to incoming travellers from red-list countries, no exemption has been granted,” the Premier League statement said.

“If required to quarantine on return from red-list countries, not only would players’ welfare and fitness be significantly impacted, but they would also be unavailable to prepare for and play in two Premier League match rounds; a UEFA club competition matchday and the third round of the EFL Cup.”

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