With travel restrictions in England intended to limit the spread of Coronavirus and in particular new variants meaning travellers from certain countries are required to quarantine on entering the country, a number of Premier League sides chose not to release potentially impacted players for the September international break.
The decision was backed by the European Clubs’ Association, and it predominantly impacted players who would have represented South American nations in World Cup qualifying matches this month—with Brazil more impacted than any other nation. Now, the clubs are waiting to find out of those players will be eligible on the weekend.
“This has to be sorted out within the next 24 hours,” ECA chief Charlie Marshall said of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the status of the Premier League’s Brazilians. “Liverpool and the other clubs need to know if they can play their Brazilians or not. If FIFA is not going to sanction the clubs then they need to tell them.”
In addition to Liverpool’s Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino, and Fabinho there is Manchester City duo Ederson and Gabriel Jesus, Chelsea’s Thiago Silva, Leeds United’s Raphina, Everton’s Richarlison, and Man United’s Fred who could be ruled ineligible to play for their clubs for five days following the end of the international break.
If those players had travelled, they would have been required to quarantine for ten days on their return to England. While the status of the Brazilians is uncertain, following formal complaints from the Chilean, Mexican, and Paraguayan federations, non-travelling players from those nations will not be eligible on the weekend.
In the case of Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, whom the club did not release for Egypt’s qualifier against Angola in Egypt but who travelled to take on Gabon on the road in their second qualifier of the break, no official complaint has been lodged and the player will be eligible to play against Leeds United on Sunday.
“We don’t think there should be sanctions,” Marshall added. “If a player has to quarantine he is unavailable to immediately play for his club again, so it would be longer than the agreed release period. We asked FIFA to extend the exception for players having to be released for international duty but they chose not to.”