A host of premier league clubs could be affected if FIFA decide to impose sanctions for refusing to release players for an international duty.
Various English clubs have barred their players from traveling to Red List countries deemed high risk by the UK government due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the national federations concerned have lodged complaints with FIFA, which could be set to punish clubs.
The row is centered on CONEMBOL players, especially Brazilian internationals. The position of the federations and, it seems, FIFA is that in order not to release the players, the clubs should not be allowed to use the players in question in their next domestic match.
The clubs intend to tackle what they believe to be an injustice, which means that as it stands, various clubs are unsure whether or not they will be allowed to select certain players for their matches. championship this weekend and, in a few cases, their clubs’ first Champions League group game.
Which clubs could be affected?
The premier league the teams that risk being affected for not having released the Brazilian internationals are Chelsea (Thiago silva), Manchester city (Gabriel Jesus and Ederson), Manchester United (Fred), Liverpool (Roberto Firmino, Fabinho and Alisson becker) and Leeds United (Raphinha).
In the case of Thiago silva and Fred, they might miss Chelsea and Manchester Unitedopens Champions League matches against Zenit St. Petersburg and Young boys respectively next Tuesday, because the ban imposed by FIFA would cover September 10-14.
It is however understood that Everton will not suffer any consequences for not allowing Richarlison travel, like Brazilian Football Federation are grateful to Caramels for allowing the attacker to play at the same time America Cup and the Olympic Games and therefore asked FIFA not to apply the decision in his case.
Other countries and clubs have also been involved in the dispute, with Chile, Mexico and Paraguay also on the UK’s travel ban list. Therefore, Newcastle United‘s Miguel almiron (Paraguay), wolves striker Raul Jimenez (Mexico) and Watford‘s Francisco Sierralta (Chile) all face the same five-day suspensions at the request of their national federations.
More controversy in South America
This is not the only controversy surrounding the current international break in South America. The programming of CONEMBOL matches means that many participating players risk missing their club’s first game after the break anyway.
This caused many clubs, including LaLiga Santander teams, with the support of the league, to refuse initially to release the players on this basis. However, the Spanish teams eventually allowed their players to travel after FIFA threatened to apply the aforementioned five-day bans. Ironically, the effect may have been more or less the same as players will be returning from international duty so late.
The result of this was the suspension of two games – Sevilla vs Barcelona and Villarreal vs. Alaves this weekend – at the request of the clubs.
Suspensions and bans are not a lasting solution, and it appears that neither side will be happy with the results of these seemingly far from resolved issues. Unless a solution is found, we will review all of this at the next international truce.
This raises serious questions about the club versus the country due to the FIFA– approved calendar shock and also shows FIFA‘s regarding disrespect for member country rules and security in the midst of a global pandemic.
These breaks in the club season can be quite stressful as teams sweat over the fitness of their players, hoping they return healthy and not too tired, but with an increased workload and even the obligation to travel. when they are not safe, FIFA maybe pushing too hard.