Fifa writes to PM Boris Johnson over release of players to red-list countries

Fifa president Gianni Infantino has asked UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for exemptions so Premier League clubs will release players for World Cup qualifiers in red-list countries.

Clubs in England and Spain say they will not release their players for matches in red-list countries.

“I have suggested an approach similar to the final stages of Euro 2020 be implemented,” said Infantino.

VIPs could attend later-stage Euro 2020 matches without having to isolate.

A government spokesperson confirmed to BBC Sport the Prime Minister has received the letter and will respond accordingly.

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport added: “We have made clear to Fifa that our existing policy will remain in place and we have no plans to change that policy. That policy is in place in order to protect public health.”

It is believed there will be no exemptions similar to Euro 2020 because of the greater number of people who would be travelling and the fact they would do so under less stringent restrictions.

Infantino said it was a “matter of great urgency and importance”.

“We have faced global problems together in the past and must continue to do so in the future,” he added.

“I am calling on a show of solidarity from every member association, every league, and every club, to do what is both right and fair for the global game.

“Many of the best players in the world compete in leagues in England and Spain, and we believe these countries also share the responsibility to preserve and protect the sporting integrity of competitions around the world.”

Under UK government rules, players would miss several games because of the 10-day isolation period that is required on their return to the UK.

The Premier League said its clubs “reluctantly but unanimously” came to the decision not to release players, adding that “extensive talks” had taken place with the Football Association and government “to find a solution” but that “no exemption had been granted”.

The English Football League has also backed the Premier League’s stance and will not allow its players to travel to countries on the red list.

The Fifa president says he has “appealed for the necessary support” over UK quarantine restrictions so that “players are not deprived of the opportunity of representing their countries in qualifying matches for the Fifa World Cup, which is one of the ultimate honours for a professional footballer”.

He added: “Together we have shown solidarity and unity in the fight against Covid-19. Now, I am urging everyone to ensure the release of international players for the upcoming Fifa World Cup qualifiers.”

source: bbc

Ray Charles Marfo

Digital Marketing and Brands Expert

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