Premier League clubs will not release players to 'red list' countries for World Cup qualifiers during international break

Premier League coronavirus Old TraffordGetty/Goal composite

The Premier League has announced it will not release players for international matches played in "red-list" countries next month.

Under current UK government rules, anyone travelling to a country on the red list is required to quarantine for 10 days upon their return, due to high coronavirus spread in those countries.

FIFA has refused to allow players an exemption to this quarantine, causing the Premier League to announce it has "reluctantly but unanimously decided not to release players" for the upcoming international break.

What was said?

"Premier League clubs have today reluctantly but unanimously decided not to release players for international matches played in red-list countries next month," a league statement said.

"The clubs' decision, which is strongly supported by the Premier League, will apply to nearly 60 players from 19 Premier League clubs who are due to travel to 26 red-list countries in the September international window.

"This follows FIFA’s current position not to extend its temporary release exception for players required to quarantine on their return from international duty.

"If required to quarantine on return from red list countries, not only would players’ welfare and fitness be significantly impacted, but they would also be unavailable to prepare for and play in two Premier League match rounds, a UEFA club competition matchday and the third round of the EFL Cup."

Premier League CEO Richard Masters added: “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."

Which countries are currently on the red list?

According to the UK government the red list is currently comprised of the following countries, mostly located in Asia, Africa and South America.

Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Congo (Democratic Republic), Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, French Guiana, Georgia, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Maldives, Mayotte, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Reunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe.  

When is the international break?

The next international break, featuring World Cup qualifiers for CONCACAF, UEFA and CONMEBOL, is set to run between August 30 and September 8.

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