Premier League sides Liverpool, Leeds United, and Manchesters City and United had been waiting to find out if they would have their Brazilian stars available to them for the fourth round of league games this weekend after not allowing them to travel for the September international break due to coronavirus travel restrictions.
Today, they have their answer: Alisson, Fabinho, and Roberto Firmino will not be able to play for Liverpool; Ederson and Gabriel Jesus will not be able to play for Man City; Raphinia will not be able to play for Leeds; and Fred will not be able to play for Man United. All are ruled ineligible from September 10th through to the 14th.
This comes as a result of the Brazilian federation lodging an official complaint with FIFA over the clubs failing to release those players. It a case made particularly bizarre by the fact that currently Brazil believes the situation is serious enough that non-Brazilian nationals are required to quarantine for ten days upon entering the country.
Over the break, Brazil’s home World Cup qualifier against Argentina was forced to be abandoned because Argentina’s English-based players who had been allowed to join up were judged to be breaking the law by not being in quarantine by Brazilian immigration officials—after the match had already kicked off.
Brazil’s coronavirus travel restrictions wouldn’t have applied to Premier League players their federation called up, yet that can only appear self-serving and arbitrary as—if one accepts entry restrictions on non-Brazilian nationals are reasonable—it would seem to put their chances of winning a World Cup qualifier ahead of the public health.
Making it all even more strange, citing a good relationship with Everton, Brazil chose not to lodge a complaint concerning that club’s failure to release Richalison, meaning he will still be able to play for the Blues this weekend. It all adds up to a situation that, to put it bluntly, seems quite thoroughly farcical.