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Liverpool’s Brazilian Internationals Cleared to Face Leeds by FIFA

Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and Paraguay have backed down and the Premier League’s non-travelling internationals will all play on the weekend.

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images

On Wednesday, following a complaint from the Brazilian FA, FIFA informed Premier League clubs that had refused to release players for international duty with the South American nation due to United Kingdom coronavirus travel restrictions that those players would not be available for selection for five days following the end of the international break.

On Friday, Brazil—as well as Mexico, Chile, and Paraguay—backed down, withdrawing their complaints. It means that for Liverpool, the Brazilian trio of Alisson Becker, Fabinho, and Roberto Firmino will all be eligible for Sunday’s match against Leeds, though with Firmino carrying a minor knock the striker is expected not to be in the matchday squad.

It also means that Liverpool opponents Leeds will be able to select forward Raphinha. In addition, Brazilians Ederson and Gabriel Jesus will be eligible for Manchester City, Thiago Silva for Chelsea, and Fred for Manchester United along with Newcastle’s Miguel Almiron (Paraguay), Wolves’ Raúl Jimenez (Mexico), and Watford’s Francisco Sierralta (Chile).

There were rumours following Brazil’s decision to lodge their complaint that FIFA was not entirely happy about the situation but felt obligated to uphold their rules as written and bar the non-released players from playing. Ahead of the break, the Premier League and European Club Association had supported the clubs’ decision not to release players.

That led to a potential looming showdown, with the possibility the clubs and league would ignore FIFA’s ruling, play the ineligible players, and take football’s governing body to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Now, any showdown is avoided—and further to that, the clubs have only agreed to release players in October if travel restrictions change.

In related news, the Argentine players from the Premier League who traveled during the international break despite not being released by their clubs—Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez and Emi Buendia, and Tottenham’s Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso—will spend the next ten days in isolation and not be able to train with their teammates or play.