Premier League clubs have refused to release players for international duty in red-list countries for the September break. Unless quarantine exemptions are made, players would be forced to miss several domestic league fixtures owing to the 10-day isolation period mandatory on return from the international break. Notably, the Football Association and Premier League are reportedly in talks with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) over a relaxation of these rules for players in the United Kingdom.
If this is anything to go by, similar problems are set to emerge in clubs across Europe as life begins to take stride amid the pandemic. Liverpool FC has been one of the earliest clubs to refuse players for international duty with as many as four of their players being affected- Egypt's Mohamed Salah and Brazil trio of Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino. Both these countries are on the UK government's red list.
Liverpool apologises to the Egyptian Football Association for not releasing Salah
The Egyptian Football Association has even said on the website that Liverpool has issued an apology for not allowing Salah to join the national team.
"The Egyptian Football Association has received a letter from Liverpool apologising for the inability of its player, Mohamed Salah, to join the national team in its next camp, which includes facing Angola in Cairo and Gabon in Franceville during the first and second rounds of the African continent's qualifiers for the World Cup," the complete statement on their website reads.
Liverpool have also confirmed that they are happy for Salah to play in the away fixture against Gabon since that will not imply him entering a red-list country. The main issue the clubs are facing is the absence of an exemption to the existing UK quarantine rule for these footballers. If such an exemption is granted, it is understood that players would be released.
To make matters worse for some Premier League clubs, FIFA even extended the September and October international windows by two days in South America so that the countries can catch up on the World Qualifiers that were pushed back owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The world football governing body said that the two-day extension ensured "sufficient rest and preparation time between matches."