Premier League clubs in Red Zone request as they prepare to ask for special exemption for their players to dodge 10-day quarantine after playing on international duty in countries hit hard by Covid
- Premier League players are set to go out on international duty next month
- Clubs are hoping their players can avoid quarantine when they return
- Players will have to quarantine if they’ve travelled to any of UK’s banned list
- It remains to be seen if footballers will be allowed to head to red listed countries
- Clubs are planning to submit applications for the appropriate dispensation
Premier League clubs are set to request special exemption for their players to travel to ‘red list’ countries for international duty next month without having to quarantine when they return.
As it stands, Government travel restrictions mean players will be required to self-isolate in a hotel for 10 days on their return from international duty if they have flown to a country on the UK’s banned list.
Last week, FIFA issued new guidelines that state clubs do not have to release players where a compulsory quarantine period of five days or more is required on their return.
Man City manager Pep Guardiola on Tuesday expressed concern about the international break
Some clubs could use FIFA’s rules to prevent players from reporting for duty next month. However, some players have privately expressed to clubs that they would still prefer to represent their countries.
Clubs are planning to submit applications to Whitehall for the appropriate dispensation allowing their stars to travel to prohibited destinations without the need to quarantine upon their return.
There is currently no exemption for elite sportspeople who are returning from red list destinations.
It remains to be seen whether Government officials will grant footballers permission to fulfil their international obligations but there is hope an arrangement can be found on the condition players leave their club’s bio-secure bubble and immediately enter their nation’s one.
The likes of Gabriel Jesus (middle) and Bernardo Silva (left) may be impacted next month
Liverpool keeper Alisson could also go into quarantine upon his return from international duty
Upon the conclusion of international duty, players will then be required to head straight back to their club’s bubble, though they may have to provide a negative Covid test before they can recommence training if they have been to a country from the red list.
If the Government accept the clubs’ applications then the forthcoming national team fixtures, which have been under significant doubt since the introduction of stricter travel restrictions earlier this year, should be able to go ahead relatively unaffected.
Top-flight clubs fear major disruption to their squads following the conclusion of March’s international fixtures due to the Government regulations.
Red list destinations such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Portugal and South Africa, are scheduled to host matches next month, which under normal circumstances would leave many Premier League players at risk of missing crucial fixtures if they have to quarantine when arriving back in the UK.
The likes of Roberto Firmino, Alisson Becker, James Rodriguez and Diogo Jota would be impacted.
Everton star James Rodriguez would also be impacted as Colombia is a red-listed destinations
The introduction of stricter border controls has already made a major impression on fixtures in the Champions League and Europa League, with many games being switched to neutral venues.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Tuesday expressed concern about the international break as he fears a spike in cases with players travelling abroad.
‘The Premier League should be concerned about this,’ Guardiola said.
‘Something is going to rise unfortunately. I would love to say it’s not going to happen but it’s already happened in two or three waves. The moment you take planes everything can happen.
‘The experience shows us the only way to be safe is don’t move, to be tested a lot and stay at home. If you move you risk to be contaminated. The reason there is no cases in the Premier League is because people don’t move, be at home and the training centre. Game then home. When we relax a bit it will come back again. That is why until summer we have to be careful.’
Additional reporting: Jack Gaughan
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