Premier League refuse to release players for international break in UK’s red-list countries – The Premier League, England’s top-flight division, have “reluctantly refused” to release players for the upcoming international break amid a lack of exemptions on quarantine. Nearly 60 players from the PL were expected to travel to red-list countries for next month’s FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, but the clubs have launched a unified stance against the same. The decision comes after the European Clubs Association (ECA) hit out at FIFA for taking decisions unilaterally.
In an official statement, the Premier League stated, “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 Premier League stated that extensive discussions had taken place with the FA and the UK government to find a solution, but due to the concerns surrounding players arriving from red-list countries, no exemption was granted. The league further said that due to quarantine regulations and the international games, players’ welfare and fitness be significantly impacted, while they would additionally miss two Premier League match rounds, a UEFA club competition matchday and the third round of the EFL Cup.
Premier League clubs have today reluctantly but unanimously decided not to release players for international matches played in red-list countries next month
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 24, 2021
Argentina, Brazil and Egypt are among the nations currently on the UK Government’s red list regarding travel to England. Liverpool had already informed Egypt that they wouldn’t be allowing Mohammed Salah to feature in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Angola in Cairo next week. The Reds have also informed the Brazilian FA that Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino would not be released for their FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Chile, Argentina and Peru as they, and Salah, would need to quarantine for 10 days on their return.
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. 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.”
PL clubs also discussed their “dissatisfaction” with Fifa’s decision to extend Conmebol’s international window in September and October from nine to 11 days. “This places additional international obligations on players from that region, to the detriment of their availability to represent their clubs,” the Premier League statement read. “Fifa was urged to work with all stakeholders to ensure an agreeable conclusion can be reached on the issue.”