International Premier League players from Red List countries are expected to have their COVID-19 quarantines relaxed when they return to their clubs under new plans being considered by the government, Athleticism can reveal.
The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) plans to exempt footballers returning from Red List countries from the requirement to observe 10 days of mandatory hotel quarantine. Instead, under new plans, players would be allowed to self-isolate for just five days in their club’s bubbles before returning to action.
The new plan, which has been circulated to Premier League clubs, could see players represent their country in World Cup qualifiers next month before returning to their clubs to play domestic football.
During the September holidays, this was not possible due to the 10-day hotel quarantine required for players returning from Red List countries. This has forced Premier League clubs to insist they do not release their players, while FIFA has demanded that individuals be allowed to travel and play.
While Argentinian players Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur traveled to South America to play – as did Colombia’s Davinson Sanchez – they had to return to Croatia to train on their own before returning to England. This meant that these players missed their club’s games in the first week after the international break.
Meanwhile, clubs whose players have not been released to play in South America, including Liverpool, Manchester City and Leeds United, all of which have Brazilian internationals, have found themselves under threat of a ban on the game. FIFA to select the persons in question.
A number of other players have also been barred from traveling to countries on the red list, including many African internationals, such as Liverpool strikers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Since then, DCMS has been working with the Premier League and the Football Association to find a compromise for the autumn windows that will allow players to play for their country without ruling them out for their clubs.
If Latin American players play in all three of their country’s matches, they are unlikely to be available for the first round of Premier League matches on October 16 and 17, even with the new rules in place.