Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Eight Premier League players stopped from playing for clubs this weekend


Eight Premier League players will be stopped from playing for their clubs this weekend after Brazilian football authorities triggered a Fifa rule to prevent them appearing.

Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Leeds United will all be affected.

Players not released for an international window can be banned for five days after the window ends under the Fifa regulations.

The decision covers 10-14 September.

Brazil invoked the bans after the Premier League stopped players from appearing for their country if it meant travel to red list countries.

Players travelling to red list countries would have had to miss several games on their return because of the 10-day isolation period required under UK rules.

In addition to missing their sides' weekend games, Chelsea defender Thiago Silva and Manchester United midfielder Fred will also not be allowed to play in their teams' opening Champions League games against Zenit St Petersburg and Young Boys next Tuesday.

However, it is understood Brazil have not asked for Everton forward Richarlison to be prevented from featuring against Burnley on Monday. It is felt Brazil showed leniency in that specific case as Everton allowed Richarlison to play at the Olympic Games when the regulations did not force them to.

The move also affects three Liverpool players, Roberto Firmino, Fabinho and Alisson; Manchester City pair Ederson and Gabriel Jesus; and Leeds forward Raphinha, who had been called into the Brazil squad for the first time.

It means eight Premier League clubs will be denied players this weekend after previous moves from the Mexico, Paraguay and Chile football federations to stop Raul Jimenez, Miguel Almiron and Francisco Sierralta from playing this weekend.

It is understood the clubs have been notified of the situation by Fifa and are now considering the situation.

Negotiations are continuing behind the scenes and it is understood the Premier League clubs do not regard this as a fait accompli.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino previously asked the UK government to provide players with exemptions to allow them to honour their international commitments, even if it meant them travelling to red list countries.

It is understood the world governing body will keep pushing this given the likelihood of the same situation arising again around international fixtures in October and November.

The Premier League are also known to be talking to stakeholders across the game to try to work out the best way forward.

This move has been coming ever since it became obvious there would be no exemptions for players, as Fifa requested and the full extent of the issue is not known yet given some countries are yet to say whether or not they are triggering the rule.

As automatic restrictions for non-release are within the Fifa rulebook, the world governing body would have to go against the demands of nations who believe they are being disadvantaged to stop the five-day rule being applied. That is not going to happen.

As the clubs most affected, at least Liverpool and Manchester City's Champions League games next week are outside the stand-down period. And for Chelsea, there is at least the knowledge that Zenit have lost two players as well in Malcolm and Claudinho as Brazil have triggered the same rule for that duo.

It could also be argued that keeping players back and having them miss one game is far better than letting them leave and then spend 10 days isolating, after which they would need to catch up on fitness work.

However, with two more international breaks looming, the whole situation is unsatisfactory to say the least.

In theory, clubs could just ignore the rule - but that would mean them playing an ineligible player, which in itself could have huge ramifications.

source here

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