Premier League’s ‘banned’ 11 players CAN play this weekend after FIFA agree to knock five-day restriction for stars who refused to play for Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay on the head
- The Premier League’s 11 ‘banned’ players will be able to play this weekend
- FIFA cancel five-day restriction after talking to South and Central American FAs
- The players did not travel for international duty because of Covid-19 restrictions
Premier League players who did not travel to South or Central America for international duty will be able to play for their clubs this weekend in a dramatic turnaround.
Sportsmail understands that following discussions between FIFA and the various football associations involved in Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay an agreement has been reached to waive the five-day ‘ban’ on the players who did not travel.
The developments will be especially welcomed by Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea, who were set to be hardest hit by the restrictions.
Premier League clubs can play their 11 ‘banned’ players after FIFA’s five-day restriction is withdrawn
Both Alisson (left) and Fabinho (right) can play for Liverpool against Leeds this weekend
It means Jurgen Klopp can field Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino against Leeds, whose own Raphinha can now play. Manchester City’s Ederson and Gabriel Jesus are also now eligible, as are Chelsea’s Thiago Silva and Manchester United’s Fred.
The conflict began when clubs refused to send 11 players to report for international duty in South and Central America because of the Covid-19 quarantine restrictions due to being red-list countries.
The national FAs hit back at the clubs by filing complaints with FIFA and asking the governing body to enforce its rules over non-appearance for international duty. FIFA duly imposed five-day ‘bans’ on the 11 players representing their clubs.
Pep Guardiola will have the services of Ederson (left) and Gabriel Jesus (right) for Man City
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be allowed to play midfielder Fred against Newcastle on Saturday
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.’
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.
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.
Mexico had earlier withdrawn their complaint, freeing Jimenez, while Newcastle boss Steve Bruce revealed on Friday that an agreement had been reached with Paraguay meaning that Almiron could travel to Manchester United.
However, the Premier League clubs reached an agreement to ignore FIFA’s punishment, deciding that both the league and clubs would take no action against opponents if they were to play the ‘banned’ players.
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.
Wolves’ Raul Jimenez (left) and Newcastle’s Miguel Almiron (right) were cleared to play earlier on Friday
‘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.’
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also described the situation as ‘a farce’, while Pep Guardiola admitted he was ready to play Ederson and Jesus because ‘I don’t have other instructions’.
Thomas Tuchel said 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.’