Earlier this week FIFA invoked Article 5 after a request from the Brazilian Football Confederation. This was after Premier League clubs unanimously decided not to release players for international duty to countries on the government’s red list.
The FA and Premier League have come to an agreement with FIFA to change their decision. Unfortunately, they made the decision with little over 12 hours before the first game this weekend.
Liverpool would’ve been without Alisson and Fabinho for their trip to Leeds, with Roberto Firmino out injured already. Their opponents, Leeds United would have been missing Raphinha. Ederson and Gabriel Jesus would have been sidelined for Manchester City, with city rivals Manchester United missing Fred. Chelsea would have had to cope without Thiago Silva, while Miguel Almiron wouldn’t have been available to Steve Bruce at Newcastle. Elsewhere Wolves would have had no Raul Jimenez and Watford’s Francisco Sierrelta wouldn’t have been available for selection.
Fifa U-Turn on Banning Premier League Players
Although common sense eventually prevailed, it is late in the day to make the decision. Regardless of the ruling, it had been understood that Jurgen Klopp was prepared to select Alisson and Fabinho. He stated in his press conference: “I can say what I know. I don’t know in the moment. We will see, there are meetings going on.”
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer didn’t hold back: “I think it’s a lose, lose, lose situation for everyone. National teams, players, clubs. It’s been a farce… Common sense might not be so common anymore.”
Pep Guardiola was also ‘unclear’ if he’d be able to play his Brazilians earlier. The news will come as a relief to the Spaniard who was looking at playing his third choice ‘keeper at the weekend as Zack Steffen is unavailable after a positive Covid test.
The decision is of an added benefit to Chelsea and Manchester United. They kick-off their Champions League campaigns on Tuesday, and would have been without Thiago Silva and Fred respectively for those games as well.
Players Still Have to Quarantine
Aston Villa will still be without Argentinian pair Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez as they travelled to join up with their national team. Martinez played in the game that was abandoned when health officials in Brazil stormed the pitch. They claimed the English based Argentinians didn’t adhere to the quarantine rules.
Dean Smith felt it was a ‘no-win’ situation for him, not wanting to send the pair as he didn’t want them to miss crucial games, but also claiming he didn’t think he could’ve legally banned his players from travelling.
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