Liverpool (and other, less important teams) got confirmation today that they would be able to delay the release of their contingent of players who will be participating in the upcoming African Cup of Nations until January 3rd.
The decision was expected, but welcome, as it allows the trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, and Naby Keita to participate in the upcoming Premier League matches against Leicester City and Chelsea.
“CAF has decided that for those players who have official club matches between the 27 December 2021 and 3 January 2022, the participating member associations in question are to be directed that these players may remain with their clubs to participate in these matches and be released after the last match during this period,” FIFA deputy secretary general Mattias Grafstrom wrote in a statement.
“It has been highlighted to FIFA that this decision is taken in the spirit of goodwill and solidarity with the affected clubs in recognition of the fact that they, like all members of the football community, have been adversely affected by the onset of the COVID pandemic.
“It is also assumed that a spirit of mutual cooperation remain between CAF and all relevant stakeholders in this regard, including related to the release of players and the provision of sporting exemptions to travel and quarantine restrictions if required in the future.”
Salah, Mané, and Keita will be unavailable for the two-legged League Cup semifinal, the third round FA Cup tie, and at least two league matches Brentford and Crystal Palace.