Premier League clubs are reportedly planning to ignore FIFA’s demands not to play their ‘banned’ South and Central American players in matches this weekend.
There are 11 players due to be suspended from playing by FIFA after they failed to appear for their international sides when clubs refused to send them to red-list countries.
Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea were set to be the hardest hit following a backlash from South American nations who attempted to take revenge when top-flight clubs blocked their stars from travelling.
Premier League clubs are reportedly planning to ignore FIFA’s demands not to play their ‘banned’ South and Central American players in matches this weekend
Fabinho is also among the 11 Premier League players banned from featuring this weekend
Ederson would be out for City and with Zack Steffen out they will rely on veteran Scott Carson
As a result, FIFA invoked a ‘five-day’ restriction on those involved, which would include Liverpool’s Brazilian trio Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino, opponents Leeds’s Raphinha, Manchester City’s Ederson and Gabriel Jesus, Chelsea’s Thiago Silva and Manchester United’s Fred.
The other three players affected were Wolves striker Raul Jimenez of Mexico, Newcastle’s Paraguay forward Miguel Almiron and Watford’s Francisco Sierralta, of Chile.
It was announced on Friday that Jimenez has been cleared to play for Wolves against Watford after the Mexican FA withdrew their complaint.
Not only would some of those players miss this weekend’s Premier League games, they would also be prevented from playing in the Champions League in midweek.
But, according to The Sun, Premier League cubs have agreed that they will not make any complaints if their rivals field those players that should be banned.
It comes after Premier League chief executive Richard Masters wrote to clubs and suggested a resolution is in sight on Wednesday.
Jurgen Klopp admitted on Friday he was unsure if Alisson and Fabinho could play at Leeds
Thiago Silva would miss Chelsea’s next two games due to FIFA’s ‘five-day restriction’
He said four national associations complained to FIFA and added that the top flight has been locked in talks with both the governing body, the government and the Football Association.
Those talks have not provided a resolution with less than 24 hours now until the first game of the Premier League weekend.
WHAT IS FIFA’S FIVE-DAY RULE?
FIFA regulations state that, if enforced, a player can be ruled out five days after an international break should their clubs refuse to release them to play for their country.
The rule was designed to prevent clubs from tactically withdrawing their players in order to protect them for upcoming club matches immediately after the international fixtures.
In full, the FIFA rulebook states: ‘A player who has been called up by his association for one of its representative teams is, unless otherwise agreed by the relevant association, not entitled to play for the club with which he is registered during the period for which he has been released or should have been released pursuant to the provisions of this annexe, plus an additional period of five days.’
The 20 Premier League clubs had a conference call on Thursday and it was decided the league would take no action against clubs if they were to play the ‘banned’ players.
The South American clash between Brazil and Argentina – which Aston Villa allowed Emi Buendia and Emi Martinez to play in and Tottenham gave Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero the green light for – descended into chaos.
The World Cup qualifier was called off after Brazilian health officials objected to the participation of Martinez, Lo Celso and Romero.
The visitors walked off the pitch at the Corinthians Arena after the officials came out to stop the game, believing the trio broke Covid quarantine rules, while Buendia did not make the squad.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was still uncertain on Friday morning over whether Alisson and Fabinho will be able to face Leeds at Elland Road on Sunday.
Firmino is in the same situation but is still recovering from an injury he suffered before the international break and is set to miss the game against Leeds in any case.
Asked about the availability of the trio at his pre-match press conference, Klopp said: ‘No. Bobby will not be available because of injury. It’s a really difficult situation. it’s really tricky for all the clubs and players especially. The players wanted to play, the clubs wanted to let the players go.
‘We couldn’t do that but now it looks like the real punishment is for the players and of course the clubs as well. That’s really not ok. We didn’t decide the players have to go. The world is in a pandemic still. We have to be on top of that until the end of the pandemic. The football players have got very often exemptions and that didn’t often lead to spreads in cities.
‘Because of all the things we do, we get tested three times a week. There was no solution and what FIFA and CONMEBOL did, they decided that we put in another matchday. They played this morning (Friday) at 1.30am. Brazil won all three games but there are still complaints.
‘Before the last international break I had a meeting with Arsene Wenger and they showed me the plans for the World Cup and in that moment I got the message there is no exemption from the government from the players and we agreed the players cannot go.
‘This is the situation and we don’t know who we can line up at the weekend. Next time there could be 10-15 other countries on the red list, it’s possible there will be the same problem with all the players and we will get the punishment for something we’re not influential in.’
Raul Jimenez will be able to play for Wolves after the Mexican FA dropped their complaint
FIFA president Gianni Infantino had written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to request exemptions for players due to play in ‘red list’ countries during the international break
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also described the situation as ‘a farce’, with Fred possibly missing the fixtures against Newcastle and Young Boys.
The Norwegian said: ‘Lose, lose situation, national teams, players, clubs, it’s been a farce, really.
‘The players want to play but we all know what kind of situation we find ourselves in the last year and a half with the pandemic, to limit the spread of the virus, we’ve worked really hard to try and find a way, private jets, there are ways of getting them in and out but all of the decisions have gone against the players, want to play for national teams and clubs but not allowed.
‘I’m disappointed with the whole thing, common sense might not be common anymore. Fingers crossed, some sense comes into people’s minds.’
Pep Guardiola also admitted he was ready to play Ederson and Jesus because ‘I don’t have other instructions.
‘It’s unclear, I don’t know,’ Guardiola said. ‘Hopefully they can play. The club hasn’t informed me. We are going to wait until tomorrow if they can play.
‘I don’t understand the situation. I don’t know what we could do. It’s an honour for City for our players to go to the national teams. No problem at all. What’s difficult to understand is the Argentina players in the Premier League go to Brazil and weren’t allowed to play. The Brazilian players who should have travelled to play would have been the same.
‘They cannot play in Brazil and after when they arrive here they can’t play for 10 days. If they don’t fly, they are suspended (anyway). It makes no sense. It’s crazy.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who could be without Fred, said it is ‘a farce’
Pep Guardiola admitted his ‘banned’ players will play because he has ‘no other instructions’
‘We wait. Hopefully FIFA make a statement and allow the Brazilian players to play with their teams.
‘I’d love to know when we find out. Scott Carson is in our squad because he’s able to play. I’m fully confident in him. Right now I’m thinking they are going to play because I don’t have other instructions.’
Asked whether top-flight clubs could present a united front and pick their players regardless of FIFA’s ruling, Guardiola added: ‘For my experience, the Premier League make a meeting and after that everyone goes with the best for themselves. I don’t trust that much.’
Thomas Tuchel says he is still in the dark over whether Silva can or cannot feature for Chelsea on Saturday, with chairman Bruce Buck leading negotiations to overturn the ban.
Asked about the ‘madness’ surrounding the club-versus-country row at his Friday press conference, Tuchel said: ‘Of course the clubs want the players to play. The national teams as well.
‘The players also want to play. If it ends up in a situation where players cannot play for the national team and then are suspended in their league, that doesn’t help anybody.
‘That makes no sense. Not for the fans, not for football, not for the national team and not for the clubs. Me personally, I think there could be a solution where we move the games from the red-list countries to green-list countries, like we did in the Champions League.
Health authorities dramatically stormed the pitch in Brazil to detain Argentina players
‘This was a solution. Right now, Thiago is not out. Not officially out. The chairman is still in negotiations. I’m waiting for the final decision. For me it’s enough if I get the final decision tomorrow. We still hope he can play.’
Speaking about the news that Jimenez can play, Wolves boss Bruno Lage said: ‘It’s a good decision from everyone, especially Mexico. We are thankful we can use Raul.
‘These are difficult times but we have to understand that the best players from all teams should be on the pitch.
‘We are very happy to receive that news and we are thankful for Mexico’s decision to help us. We want to see the best players from Watford and also from our side.’
Bizarrely, Brazil have allowed Richarlison to feature for Everton against Burnley on Monday night after the Toffees gave permission for him to play in the Olympic Games this summer when they weren’t forced to.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino had written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to request exemptions for players due to play in ‘red list’ countries during the international break.