Premier League clubs hopeful of selecting Brazilians despite Fifa ban
Premier League clubs remain hopeful of selecting Brazil internationals this weekend despite being threatened with sanctions by Fifa in the escalating row over quarantine restrictions.
Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Leeds are all understood to have been notified by world football’s governing body that they cannot select players who were called up for Brazil’s recent World Cup qualifiers but did not travel to a country that is on the UK’s red list, for a five-day period from 10-14 September.
That would rule Alisson, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino and Raphinha out of Leeds’ meeting with Liverpool on Sunday. Ederson and Gabriel Jesus would miss City’s game against Leicester on Saturday. Chelsea and United would lose Thiago Silva and Fred for this weekend’s Premier League games against Aston Villa and Newcastle respectively, plus their opening Champions League group fixtures against Young Boys and Zenit St Petersburg on Tuesday.
Fifa has invoked the five-day ruling at the request of the Brazilian Football Association, who are angered at clubs’ refusal to release players due to the 10-day quarantine they would have to spend in hotels on their return. The Brazilian FA has not asked Fifa to impose the rule on Everton’s Richarlison, however, owing to the goodwill that exists between themselves and the club after they allowed the forward to compete in both the Copa América and Olympic Games this summer.
The notification marks a further deterioration in relations between clubs and Fifa, who could impose the forfeit of a 3-0 defeat on teams who ignore the five-day ruling and field ineligible players. The impacted clubs, however, who have the full support of the European Club Association, remain in talks with the Premier League, other affected leagues, national associations and other clubs in an attempt to find a resolution before the weekend. There is hope of an agreement being reached in the next 24 hours.
Clubs are united in their stance against Fifa and believe the organisation has no basis to impose sanctions given the extraordinary circumstances that prevented players reporting for international duty in accordance with Fifa’s own regulations. Fifa had introduced a temporary release exception for players who faced quarantine restrictions on their return from international duty, but that was dropped earlier this year.
Brazil were involved in farcical scenes on Sunday when Brazilian health authorities attempted to detain Argentina players Giovani Lo Celso, Cristian Romero, Emiliano Martínez and Emi Buendía for breaching quarantine rules following their arrival via the UK. That led to the postponement of the high-profile World Cup qualifier.
Chile, Mexico and Paraguay have also asked Fifa to invoke the five-day ruling, which would impact on Newcastle’s Miguel Almirón, Wolves striker Raúl Jiménez, Watford’s Francisco Sierralta and Ben Brereton of Blackburn.