EPL clubs prevent almost 60 players from traveling for national team duty
Premier League clubs decided Tuesday to bar nearly 60 players from joining their national teams in red-list countries because they would face a mandatory 10-day quarantine upon returning to England.
The Premier League said the quarantine measures would rule returning internationals out of two Premier League matches, the first round of UEFA competition, and the third round of the EFL Cup, and require additional time for players to re-establish match fitness.
England's red list features Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru and affects a number of Premier League internationals, including Manchester City's Ederson and Gabriel Jesus, Everton's Richarlison, and Liverpool's Alisson and Fabinho.
Clubs could still face sanctions from FIFA for refusing to release players. The governing body is no longer allowing players to opt out of trips if they're forced to quarantine.
"Premier League clubs have always supported their players' desires to represent their countries - this is a matter of pride for all concerned. However, clubs have reluctantly but rightly come to the conclusion that it would be entirely unreasonable to release players under these new circumstances," chief executive Richard Masters said in a statement.
"Quarantine requirements mean that players' welfare and fitness will be significantly impacted. We understand the challenges that exist in the international match calendar and remain open to workable solutions."
To complicate matters, FIFA recently allowed CONMEBOL, which governs South American football, to take up two more days of the calendar so its national teams can complete three World Cup qualifiers in the September and October windows instead of the usual two.
The European Club Association, which oversees 220 teams, said last week FIFA was "abusing its regulatory function in order to place its commercial interests and those of its member associations above the physical well-being of players and legitimate sporting interests of clubs."
The upcoming international break begins next Monday and runs until Sept. 8. More qualifiers are scheduled between Oct. 4 and Oct. 13.
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